Surveys

US Jewelry, Watch Sales Slowed in March

SurveysMay 10, 2022

US Jewelry, Watch Sales Slowed in March

Full-year watch and jewelry sales are still expected to rise, but not quite as sharply as last year.

A sapphire and garnet ring by Stephen Silver, featuring a 6.03-carat cushion-cut violet purple sapphire with purple garnets and diamonds ($28,900). U.S. watch and jewelry sales were up nearly 9 percent year-over-year in March, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
New York—U.S. watch and jewelry sales slowed in March, government data shows.

Sales in the category were up nearly 9 percent year-over-year, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), down from 28 percent growth in February.

While still positive, the numbers are a far cry from March 2021, when watch and jewelry sales more than doubled, rising 103 percent year-over-year.

Watch and jewelry sales for the full year are expected to rise but not nearly as high as last year.

The government’s data what panelists said at a session at the recently concluded American Gem Society Conclave—that jewelry sales seem to be coming down from their pandemic peak, a trend that panelists attributed to a return to spending on travel and experiences.

In 2021, dubbed by industry analyst Edahn Golan as “the year of jewelry,” full-year sales in the category reached an estimated $115.29 billion, a 51 percent increase year-over-year, according to preliminary BEA data.

In 2022, as of March, full-year watch and jewelry sales are expected to reach an estimated $125.53 billion, about a 9 percent year-over-year increase.

Year-over-year growth in jewelry and watch sales reached its zenith last April, up 218 percent, more than tripling when compared to April 2020, a month after COVID-19 lockdowns began.

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Overall U.S. retail sales in March followed a similar path of muted growth, up 0.5 percent month-over-month, but down from an 0.8 percent rise in February.

Consumers have continued to battle rising prices.

Prices hit a four-decade high in March, driven by increasing food and energy costs coupled with strong consumer demand and supply chain constraints.

The consumer price index, which measures the average change in prices over time consumers will pay for a basket of goods and services, rose 1.2 percent month-over-month in March.

It was up 8.5 percent year-over-year, the largest 12-month increase since December 1981.

In an effort to combat inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point last week, its largest interest rate hike in more than two decades.

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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