Merrick, NY—Although the 2019 holiday retail season started off strong overall, figures from The Centurion’s 2019 Holiday Sales Success Index found better jewelers’ results from the first 10 days were mixed, and slower than the general retail picture would suggest. Slightly over one-fourth of jewelers responding to The Centurion’s survey reported sales gains of at least 6% over the 10-day period from Black Friday through December 9, 2019. 17% of respondents reported sales even with the same time frame last year, but 44% of respondents reported sales for the first 10 days of the official holiday shopping season were down over the same period last year.
For the fall selling season overall (beginning Labor Day) the news was more encouraging for the prestige jewelry sector. 50% of respondents to The Centurion’s survey said their sales were up solidly—anywhere from 5% to gains of more than 10%—over the same period last year. One-third said sales for fall 2019 were even with fall 2018, and only 16% reported a sales decline.
How Was Your Business for the Start of the 2019 Holiday Season, Black Friday Through December 8?
High-end jewelers responding to The Centurion Holiday Sales Success Index survey reported mixed results for the start of the 2019 holiday season, above, but fall sales results overall (below) present a much better picture.
How Was Your Business for the Fall Season 2019 Overall?
One of the major general retail trends emerging for the holiday season is that consumers are focusing on how their shopping choices impact the environment. This article on RetailDive says shoppers are increasingly opting to buy from retailers that support sustainability and other social issues.
A survey of 3,500 consumers conducted by the NPD Group found that a retailer’s stance on social issues is likely to be a positive influence on shoppers, and that about half of shoppers are planning on giving intangible gifts like experiences and charitable donations.
Meanwhile, a survey of 1,500 shoppers conducted by Accenture in partnership with Coleman Parkes Research showed a clear uptick in consumers’ concern for the planet and people: they want clear labeling that products are made in sustainable or ethical ways, to be shown the origin of the materials and ingredients in the things they buy, an option to reduce or eliminate packaging, and are willing to forego next-day delivery in favor of slower but more environmentally sound options.
Shoppers also believe retailers have a responsibility to address wider social issues through their business practices and working conditions, says Accenture. Nearly half of the respondents (45%) said they are more likely to do their holiday shopping with retailers that do so.
“We have entered the era of ‘responsible retail,’ where consumers are becoming more environmentally and socially conscious and will increasingly turn to brands that not only talk about responsibility but demonstrate it through their business practices,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s global retail practice.
“Retailers need to design their products and their business around responsible initiatives; those already on this path could have the edge over their competitors this holiday season and beyond.”
Delivery footprint is less critical to jewelers, but the diamond sector still battles a negative narrative from both lab-grown brands and lingering concerns about conflict diamonds.
For jewelers looking to tell positive stories about the origins of their diamond products, the DiamondsDoGood.com website offers a robust library of examples, ranging from retailer initiatives on a local level to supplier programs industry-wide to mining companies’ sustainability efforts. For example, Hartford, CT-based Lux, Bond, & Green was one of the first businesses in their community to step forward to support Christmas Wish CT, which provides holiday gifts to local families in need, going beyond a simple toy per child to everything the family needs. LBG doesn’t just write a check—its employees also volunteer at the Christmas Wish holiday party, and are encouraged to support their favorite causes all year long.
Canadian diamond miner Dominion Diamond Corp. works closely with aboriginal communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories to ensure that its diamond mining operations not only don’t disturb local wildlife but also instituted programs to ensure the region’s youth have the skills and education they need for a secure future.
Retail chain Ben Bridge gives more than $400,000 to causes annually. In line with its philosophy of supporting wome, one of the retailer’s favorite organizations is Dress For Success, which helps disadvantaged women obtain appropriate clothing for a job interview. It also helps them with hair and makeup tips, confidence-building skills, gasoline vouchers to get to job interviews, child care, and more. And Denver, CO-based Hyde Park Jewelers is a staunch supporter of Girls Inc., which helps young women gain the tools, skills, and confidence they need to become anything they want to be.