On Data: How Independent Jewelers Are Faring This Year

IndependentsDec 10, 2019

On Data: How Independent Jewelers Are Faring This Year

In a new data-driven column, The Edge Retail Academy’s Sherry Smith breaks down the year so far for independent retailers.

Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. She can be reached at
The retail model continues to evolve at an exponential rate.

Today, small is the new big, less is more and the word “omnichannel” has become passé.

This shifting retail landscape has left our independent jewelry retailers in search of the “next best thing” and vigorously seeking a competitive edge—better ways to reach customers, more efficient customer journeys and opportunities to proactively meet customer needs.

The role of data is more significant than ever, which is why The Edge Retail Academy is now working with National Jeweler to bring readers “On Data,” a regular column by yours truly that contains valuable information on what’s selling and what’s not.

In this first column, we’ll look at how independent jewelers are faring so far in 2019, as well as delve into the importance of data.

The Figures
The Edge Retail Academy’s aggregated data from more than 1,100 independent retailers show sales are up 1.7 percent rolling 12 months ending October 2019.

It might surprise independent retailers to know they’re outperforming the majors.

Tiffany reported comparable sales in the Americas decreased 4 percent in the third quarter and were down 5 percent in the first half.

Signet same-store sales were down 1.4 percent year-to-date at the end of the second quarter, though the massive retailer showed improvement in Q3 thanks its North American stores and online sales.

Historically, the diamond category has made up approximately 50 to 51 percent of annual jewelry sales, but in the month of October it slipped a bit, representing 45.5 percent.

The diamond category was up 11 percent in gross sales for the month of October and up 3 percent in average retail sale, which climbed from $2,213 to $2,379.

Why Numbers Matter
It’s all about the data.

In its 2018 study titled “How Analytics and Digital Will Drive Next Generation Retail Merchandising,” McKinsey stated: “Winning decisions are increasingly driven by analytics more than instinct, experience or merchant ‘art.’

“By leveraging smarter tools—those beyond backward-looking, ‘hind-sighting’ analysis—retailers can increasingly make forward-looking predictions that are quickly becoming the ‘table stakes’ necessary to keep up.”

Owners and buyers no longer need to rely solely, nor should they, on their instincts. 

Independent retailers now have access to approximately $2 billion in annual jewelry sales data, thanks to Edge Pulse. Edge Pulse allows Edge users to log in from anywhere at any time to access their data as well as industry stats. 

This big data means a greater understanding 
of patterns, trends and consumer shopping habits.

It is easy to now ascertain the top-performing categories or how a given vendor is trending.

 A retailer can benchmark their performance against the aggregated industry performance and trends.

They can also quickly determine if they are missing best sellers from the very vendors with whom they’re currently doing business.

According to a recent study conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, 62 percent of retailers report the use of information, including big data, and analytics are creating a competitive advantage for their organizations.

Knowing where you stand relative to other retailers, while not a game changer in and of itself, is a useful benchmark.

Understanding market trends, pricing and category performance is the best complement to your instincts and experience.

Your daily and weekly routine should include a review of your data, as well as real-time aggregated data, to make more informed and intelligent business decisions.

These insights will enable you to better understand which products or services are in demand and, quite frankly, help you to manage your business more efficiently.

We’ve come off a great month in October. Let’s build on that momentum with relevant and useful data.

Have a great holiday season!

Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. Her 30 years in the jewelry industry includes 20 as principal partner in two jewelry stores. As director of business development, Smith works with wholesalers, brands and retail stores on business mentoring and data analysis and aggregation. She can be reached at
Sherry Smithis director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy.

The Latest

EditorsSep 27, 2021
4 Takeaways from the First HardRock Summit

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator shares insights from the show, including what people have been buying and where it could go from here.

CollectionsSep 27, 2021
Gabriel & Co. Launches Men’s Collection

The fine jewelry design company has a dedicated men’s fine jewelry collection and a men’s wedding band array.

Lab-GrownSep 27, 2021
RJC Is Developing a Standard for Lab-Grown Diamonds, Gems

It will be for all companies that deal in lab-grown materials.

Brought to you by
Bringing Sexy Back: The Allure of COUTURE, Italian Style

Take a tour of Italian designers at COUTURE 2021.

CollectionsSep 27, 2021
BaubleBar’s New NFL Collection Brings Sparkle to Team Spirit

The licensed collection features jewelry inspired by all 32 NFL teams.

Weekly QuizSep 23, 2021
This Week's Quiz
Test your knowledge of jewelry news from the week of Sept. 20-24, 2021.
Take the Quiz
MajorsSep 24, 2021
Brilliant Earth Is Now a Public Company

CEO Beth Gerstein said she believes in the jeweler’s omnichannel approach as its retail rollout continues.

Events & AwardsSep 24, 2021
These 3 Companies Will Receive Business Grants from PGI USA

PGI created the program to accelerate the growth of the platinum jewelry market in the U.S.

Brought to you by
What is your Health Care Coverage Strategy?

Health care coverage is a big expense for small businesses - find out how to lower costs long-term instead of every 12 months.

CollectionsSep 24, 2021
Zales Introduces Elvis Presley Men’s Jewelry Line

From its curb link chains to statement diamond rings, the new collection takes inspiration from the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”