Product Pulse: How Strong is Your Bridge Jewelry Business?

SurveysSep 21, 2016

Product Pulse: How Strong is Your Bridge Jewelry Business?

The category as a percentage of overall sales has either stayed the same or increased for the majority of retailers in recent years, our latest survey found.

John Hardy was one of the brands mentioned by a number of jewelers in the latest survey as a best-seller in the “bridge” jewelry category. This is the brand’s “Lava” hinged bangle in silver with black sapphires from the recently launched Modern Chain collection.

New York--The latest category-specific survey from National Jeweler/Jewelers of America shows that bridge jewelry as a percentage of overall sales has either stayed the same or increased for retailers in recent years.

The Product Pulse survey on bridge jewelry was conducted online in late August/early September; approximately 120 jewelers responded.

It defined bridge jewelry as pieces that “bridge” the gap between costume and fine, often crafted using gold vermeil/gold fill and/or sterling silver with “semi-precious” gemstones.

Nearly half (48 percent) of jewelers said that bridge jewelry sales have stayed about the same as a percentage of their overall sales in recent years, while another 43 percent said they have increased.

Only 10 percent said they were decreasing.

More than half of retailers (53 percent) said that bridge jewelry accounts for 10 percent or less of their overall sales, while 19 percent indicated it was between 11 percent and 15 percent of the total and another 11 percent put it somewhere between 16 and 20 percent.

Thirteen percent of respondents said bridge jewelry made up between 21 and 30 percent of total sales, and another 4 percent indicated it was between 31 and 40 percent.

Only 1 percent had bridge jewelry sales at more than 40 percent of overall sales.

In terms of the overall gross margin from bridge jewelry, the most respondents (57 percent) said that the category has more than a 50 percent margin for them, while one in four said it was between 41 and 50 percent.

Only 6 percent said it was between 31 percent and 40 percent margin, while 5 percent said bridge jewelry had a margin between 21 percent and 30 percent and the remaining 6 percent saw a 20-percent-or-less margin.

When asked why they started carrying bridge jewelry, many survey takers said they did it when the price of gold began to go up in order to have jewelry at the price points consumers wanted.

“We started as soon as gold started rising in price so that we could still offer affordable jewelry,” one respondent wrote.

Another said that they made the move into bridge “to give our customers a wider price range to select from and try out some trendy fashions.”

The possibility of a higher margin from bridge jewelry also helped, as one retailer said they began carrying jewelry in the category 18 months ago “to compensate and boost sagging sales overall.”

Among the

brands mentioned as best-sellers in the bridge category were Frederic Duclos, Kendra Scott, David Yurman, John Hardy and Ed Levin.

Outside of specific brand names, many jewelers just stated that what does best for them in this category is sterling silver jewelry set with gems or diamonds.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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