On Data: Examining Jewelry Sales in March
In her latest column, Sherry Smith weighs March 2021 against March 2019 to give a more accurate picture of how jewelry is performing.
Let’s see if that held true for the fine jewelry category last month.
While comparing March 2021 to March 2020 is not instructive given the nationwide shutdown, when weighing March 2021 against March 2019, the results are compelling.
In March 2021, jewelry showed a 37.2 percent increase in gross sales versus March 2019.
Because many retailers were closed for much of March last year, it is also worth comparing the first quarter of this year with the first quarter of 2019.
The findings show jewelry sales in Q1 of March 2021 were up 30.6 percent when compared with the same period in 2019.
For context, January and February 2020 showed strong increases in number of units sold when compared with January and February 2019. It wasn’t until stores started closing in March 2020 that unit sales took a nosedive.
Notably, the average retail sale continued to climb every single month of the first quarter and year-over- year from 2019 through 2021.
The watch category made up 20.2 percent of total sales for the month and showed a 62 percent increase in gross sales when compared with March 2019, and a 20.1 percent increase compared with March 2020. (Believe it or not, watch sales were extremely strong throughout the pandemic.)
Watch units climbed 88 percent compared with March 2020 and 18 percent when compared with March 2019.
The average retail sale was up 13 percent when compared with March 2020 but grew 37.5 percent when compared with March 2019.
Loose diamonds made up 15 percent of total gross sales for the month, and their sales were up an impressive 38.9 percent compared with March 2019 and soared 115 percent compared with March 2020.
Even sterling silver, despite sustained periods of decline, performed well.
In March 2021, gross sales of sterling silver jewelry were up 5.3 percent compared with March 2019 and 107 percent compared with March 2020.
The rolling 12-month period ending February 2021 also shows a strong increase compared with 2019, despite having several months of closures in the data.
Gross sales increased 6.2 percent compared with the same period ending February 2019, and the average retail sale grew 31 percent.
With vaccinations accelerating at a rapid pace, there are some predicting retail sales growth will be front-loaded to the first half of this year.
While we can expect increased competition from travel as things open up, and retailers will find themselves fighting more for those disposable dollars, we suspect retailers who execute well will continue to see positive growth.
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