|Christmas Online Shopping|
According to the United States Department of Commerce figures, total sales for jewelry and watches in the end of 2014 holiday period declined by 1.4% in terms of value from the previous November and December, though some of this fall can be explained by the decrease in diamond and gold prices in 2014, finds an analysis by the GIA.
Tiffany & Co. reported seasonal sales declines for its North American stores, Signet saw much lower growth in 2014 than 2013, and Blue Nile’s fourth quarter sales were below its expectations, reports Russell Shor in the GIA analysis. “Anecdotally, the U.S. market saw good growth at the high end, while middle market customers traded down,” says Shor.
|Tiffany & Co. Building on Wall Street|
Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan attributes a decline of 4.7% of sales by specialty jewelers to a shift in purchasing habits. According to Golan, overall jewelry sales in the United States market totaled $21.75 billion during the 2014 November to December holiday season, down 1.2% from the comparable period of 2013, with fine jewelry accounting for some $19.2 billion.
“It used to be that at least 30% of jewelry and watch sales took place during the November–December holiday period. However, since 2008, purchases have been more spread out through the year. This was especially true for the 2014 holiday season when many retailers reported better than usual business prior to Thanksgiving,” says Golan.
“Despite the record level of expenditure and sales, the 2014 Holiday Season hit a snag, and overall jewelry and watch sales declined 1.2% year-over-year to $21.7 billion. The reason for the decline was a shift to lower price-point items and a continued shift in making jewelry purchases prior to the Holiday Season,” concludes Golan.
Forevermark Campaigns in the US and China
Forevermark, the retail brand of the De Beers Group of Companies, is running its biggest holiday campaign in the US ever, according to Costantino Papadimitriou, Head of Brand Strategy & Innovation at Forevermark.
“The objective is to remind our tongue-tied friends that there is no better way to express their love than with diamonds and diamond jewelry. We calculate that these campaigns will reach 94% of affluent adults at least seven times,” he explains.
The diamond retail giant has also developed a special ad campaign for China. “In China and Hong Kong, it will all be a little different. The holiday season there is much longer and full of events, especially the Chinese New Year, which is the most important moment of the year,” notes Papadimitriou.
2014 Polished Diamond Demand Up by 3%
Global demand for polished diamonds contained in diamond jewelry increased by 3% (measured in USD polished wholesale prices) in 2014, totaling just over US$25 billion, according to a De Beers report. Growth in polished diamond consumption was more mixed in the major diamond markets, owing to the weakness of some currencies against the USD, slower than anticipated growth over the Christmas season and slowdown in demand in China, notes the report.
Global media measurement and analytics company comScore’s official spending forecast for the 2015 holiday season predicts that total online retail spending for the November-December period will reach $70.1 billion, representing a 14-percent gain versus 2014.
Spending using desktop computers for that period is expected to reach $58.3 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year, while mobile commerce is predicted to account for $11.7 billion of retail spending, representing 17 percent of total digital commerce and growing at a rate of 47 percent compared to last year.
"While the holiday season opened a little softer than anticipated, Thanksgiving and Black Friday both posted strong online spending totals that surpassed $1 billion on desktop computers and grew at the rate we had expected. Although we anticipate a marginal slowdown in the digital commerce growth rate from last year's 15-percent level, the overall economic outlook is positive, which bodes well for consumers and retailers,” says Gian Fulgoni, Executive Chairman Emeritus of comScore.
Cyber Monday desktop online spending reached $2.28 billion, up 12 percent versus one year ago, representing the heaviest online spending day in history and the first day of the 2015 season to surpass $2 billion in sales, says comScore. For the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, online buying from desktop computers totaled $7.201 billion, up 10 percent versus last year.
According to detailed analysis of consumer spending in December 2015, just over 16% of consumers had already purchased jewelry as gifts during the holiday season. This figure was down from 17% in 2014 and 17.5% in 2013. The younger age group of 18-24 represented the greatest share of such purchases in 2015 while high earners (over $50,000) purchased a larger share of jewelry as gifts than lower earners.