On Data: How Did Independent Jewelers Do in January and February?

ColumnistsMar 14, 2023

On Data: How Did Independent Jewelers Do in January and February?

Sherry Smith breaks down the results so far this year, including which categories are the sales standouts and which are struggling.

2021_Sherry Smith.jpg
Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. She can be reached at
A recent Morningstar article reported that retail sales jumped 3 percent in January, far above the 1.9 percent gain predicted in a Wall Street Journal poll of economists.  

The same article went on to state, “similarly large gains like the one [in January] are unlikely to be a regular staple this year.” 

This prediction came to pass for independent retailers in February. While January sales showed a slight year-over-year increase, with a 1 percent gain, February’s sales declined 5 percent. 

Unit sales were down in the second half of 2022, so it was a bit of a surprise to see an 8 percent increase in units for January. February units were less robust, but it is hard to be to upset with a decline of only 1.5 percent for the month. 

Both months, however, showed a decline in average retail sale, down 6 percent in January and down 3 percent in February.

Year-to-date numbers for the independents show a slight decline of 3 percent in overall gross sales, and a decline of only 2 percent in units sold, which should be a source of relief given the record years we just experienced. 

There were a few standout categories. 

Watches continue to show growth in our year-to-date numbers, with a 6.78 percent increase in gross sales, 2 percent increase in units sold, and 5 percent increase in average retail sale. We did, however, see a small decline in units sold in February, 2 percent, when compared with February 2022.

Both repair and custom services performed well in January and February. In February, custom showed increases in gross sales, units sold, and average retail sale; 9 percent, 2 percent, and 7 percent, respectively.

While repairs showed a 3 percent decline in units sold this February, the category showed a double-digit increase of 25 percent in gross sales, and a 29 percent increase in average retail sale.

The precious metal categories showed a small decline of 4 percent in gross sales, 3 percent decrease in units sold, and a 7 percent decline in average retail sale. 

Sterling silver declined 5 percent in gross sales, 5 percent in units sold, and was flat in average retail sale year-to-date.

Sales of colored stones, which are often overlooked, is flat in gross sales year-to-date. Units sold are up 1 percent, and the average retail sale is down 2 percent this year. 

Pearls declined 3 percent in gross sales, 5 percent in units sold, but was up 2 percent in average retail sale year-to-date.

The diamond categories, which historically have been strong performers, are showing declines in the major key performance indicators (KPIs) so far in 2023. 

Gross sales are down 11 percent, units sold are down 9 percent, and average retail sale is down 3 percent. 

Almost every diamond category in February showed declines, with some of the biggest declines coming in the bridal segment.

After consistent declines in the fourth quarter, loose diamonds have now shown declines for five consecutive months. They were down across all KPIs in the month of January, and in February, gross sales of loose diamonds fell 26 percent, while units sold slipped 8 percent and the average retail sale was down 19 percent.

Diamond engagement rings specifically declined by 20 percent in gross sales, 12 percent in units, and 9 percent in average retail sale in February. 

Diamond semi-mounts were 4 percent in terms of gross sales and 6 percent in units sold but showed an increase of 3 percent in average retail sale for the month.

The best performing diamond category for the month of February was diamond necklaces, showing an 11 percent increase in gross sales, a 6 percent decline in units sold but a whopping 19 percent increase in average retail sale.

Lab-grown diamonds, which continue to be a heated topic of conversation, showed a 76 percent increase in gross sales, a 120 percent increase in units sold, and a 14 percent decline in average retail sale this January when compared to January 2022. 

January lab-grown sales made up 9 percent of all loose diamond sales for the month. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

All in all, the year-to-date results are showing small declines. It’s important to make sure that talk of rising costs, inflation, and a potential recession don’t stop you from executing the very things that will help you drive revenue.

Here are a few things you can do to stay proactive.

Make sure you have top talent in front of your customers to ensure the best possible outcome for both your customer and your business.

Pay attention to your marketing plan. Don’t make knee-jerk reactions. Be strategic. Research shows that businesses who continue marketing through economic downturns fare much better than those who completely eliminate spending on marketing.

Keep implementing best practices around inventory management to include consistent replenishment of your bestsellers, and an aggressive exit strategy for non-performing products.

I read an article, “Recession or Not, Retail is Ready,” in Forbes back in December, and this one paragraph is worth sharing.

McKinsey reminds our industry as a whole that the time for contingency planning is: all the time. They observe that ‘retail resilience not only survived the Great Recession but also came out of it stronger. We believe that how retailers perform in the next downturn will be determined, in large part, by how well they prepare now, and then how decisively they act.’”

The Latest

Graphic for My Next Question episode on lab-grown diamonds
Recorded WebinarsSep 29, 2023
The Lab-Grown Diamond Market: Where Are We Now?

Watch as Edahn Golan, Sherry Smith and Avi Levy join Michelle Graff to talk pricing and trends in this controversial corner of the market.

692-carat rough diamond from the Karowe Mine
SourcingSep 29, 2023
Lucara Severs Ties With HB Antwerp

The two companies initially partnered during the pandemic and had just signed a 10-year sales agreement in November 2022.

Sonya K. Taylor diamond tennis necklace with tourmaline drop
CollectionsSep 29, 2023
Piece of the Week: Sonya K’s Versatile Necklace

A classic diamond tennis necklace gets a whole lot cooler with a removable pendant.

Brought to you by
Top 5 Ways to Promote Safety and Security Awareness Among Your Staff

Awareness is essential to proactive protection. Learn how to promote and maintain safety and security awareness in your business.

Columbia Gem House Woz Cuts
EditorsSep 28, 2023
The Gemstone World Is In Its Unique Cut Era

Associate Editor Lauren McLemore recently spoke with Columbia Gem House’s Eric Braunwart about the uptick in non-traditional gemstone cuts.

Weekly QuizSep 29, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
Pre-Owned Luxury by Rocksbox logo
MajorsSep 28, 2023
Signet-Owned Rocksbox Now Sells Pre-Owned Fine Jewelry

“Pre-Owned Luxury by Rocksbox” offers secondhand jewelry from Kay, Zales, and Jared to members and non-members.

Gold Roman Bracelet from the British Museum
CrimeSep 28, 2023
Have You Seen Jewels Like These? The British Museum Wants to Know

The museum is asking for the public’s help in finding thousands of pieces of ancient gold jewelry and gemstones stolen from a storeroom.

Dialog Solutions
Brought to you by
A Conversation with Dialog Solutions

Do you always want the right diamonds at the right price in your store? Introducing Dialog, the world’s first diamond subscription service.

Pam Waclawski The Kingswood Company
MajorsSep 28, 2023
The Kingswood Co. Names New VP, Wins Award

The company was recognized for one of its private-label, consumer-focused jewelry care lines.

Chaumet diamond necklace, circa 1900
AuctionsSep 27, 2023
Antique Jewels Shine at Bonhams London

A rare Chaumet necklace and 20th-century sapphire ring sold for double their estimates.

Stock image of rough diamonds from De Beers
SourcingSep 27, 2023
India Calls for 2-Month Moratorium on Rough Diamond Imports

The plea comes against a backdrop of declining demand and falling prices.

Hands pushing a shopping cart
SurveysSep 27, 2023
Consumer Confidence Falls in September Amid Rising Recession Fears

Shoppers also expressed concern about rising prices, higher interest rates, and political uncertainty.

   Platinum Guild International logo
Events & AwardsSep 27, 2023
PGI to Dole Out $500K in Business Grant Program

Participants from the first round of grants saw up to a 900 percent increase in their platinum sales.

Citizen Tsuki-yomi A-T moon phase watch
WatchesSep 26, 2023
Citizen Launches the Tsuki-Yomi A-T Timepiece

According to the watchmaker, it features the first light-powered atomic timekeeping moon phase movement.

Sally Nelson Exclusively Diamonds
IndependentsSep 26, 2023
Sally Nelson, Founder of Exclusively Diamonds, Dies at 86

The former teacher, described as “a pioneer for women-owned businesses,” opened her own jewelry store in 1980.

Crescendo, a 147.96-carat golden citrine by John Dyer for Somewhere In The Rainbow
Events & AwardsSep 26, 2023
2023 Spectrum Awards Entry Deadline Extended

The contest is now open for submissions until Oct. 10.

Instore show logo
Events & AwardsSep 26, 2023
Instore Announces Dates for 2024 Show

The annual event will return to Rosemont, Illinois next August.

Gold holiday gift boxes
SurveysSep 26, 2023
Mastercard Makes Its 2023 Holiday Prediction

According to SpendingPulse, retail sales will increase in November and December but not necessarily for jewelers.

Stock image of hands in handcuffs
CrimeSep 25, 2023
Oregon Jeweler Accused of Selling Lab-Grown Diamonds as Natural

Police say Douglas Wayne Gamble also swapped natural diamonds for synthetic stones and failed to return customers’ repairs.

Neil Lane lab-grown diamond engagement rings for Kay Jewelers
CollectionsSep 25, 2023
Neil Lane’s Latest Collection Uses Lab-Grown Diamonds

The designer just launched a new bridal range at Kay Jewelers.

Yunjo Lee
MajorsSep 25, 2023
Hearts On Fire Taps Mejuri Exec as CCO

Yunjo Lee has also worked on collections for Tiffany & Co. with Paloma Picasso and Frank Gehry.

Steve Levine of Sylvie Jewelry
MajorsSep 25, 2023
Second Generation Takes On New Roles at Sylvie Jewelry

Steve Levine joins the family-owned company, while his brother Gary has a new position.

David Yurman Paris flagship
MajorsSep 22, 2023
David Yurman Alleges These Two Companies Copied Its Designs

The company has filed complaints against Royal Chain and Samuel B.

Yun Yun Sun toi et moi diamond Puzzle ring
TrendsSep 22, 2023
Piece of the Week: Yun Yun Sun’s ‘Puzzle’ Ring

The two-stone style benefits from two-toned metal.

Mineral display at HardRock Summit 2023
Events & AwardsSep 22, 2023
HardRock Summit To Relocate In 2024

The event is moving just outside of Denver.

Timex ReWound video screenshot
WatchesSep 21, 2023
Timex Wants Your Old Watch

The company just rolled out “Timex Rewound,” a new takeback and resale program.

GIA logo
GradingSep 21, 2023
Retailers Warned About Fraudulent Email Purportedly From GIA

The lab confirmed it did not send the message.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy

Additionally, paste this code immediately after the opening  tag: