Encinitas, CA—This year has been one of the most uncertain times in this generation’s history. Businesses and personal lives have been upended, some with great loss, and for those we are truly saddened. But for most jewelers, 2020 will be a story of rebound, recovery, relationship building and growth. Who could have anticipated that a worldwide pandemic would bring an uptick in jewelry sales? And yet it has!
Travel is the single largest competitor to jewelry for consumers’ luxury spending dollars. Far too often retailers hear of a big trip that a customer is taking to celebrate their anniversary, which serves as an excuse not to make a jewelry purchase. This year, along with everything else we knew as normal, discretionary spending has changed. Travel, at least outside of the United States, is simply not an option. Many European countries remain closed to American tourists and the cruise industry’s no-sail orderwas just extended. This hold on travel is freeing up millions of dollars to be spent on jewelry. (Once these travel bans are lifted our industry is likely to see a downturn as consumers rush to travel again, but we’ll address strategies for dealing with that later.)
We hope you have already seen this rise in business and are posturing yourself to collect on this shift in luxury spending, specifically through the end of the year.
Some of you in destination locations have seen visitors that would normally vacation for a week extend their stays for months. Or you may be seeing new vacationers in your area because you are accessible by car. In either case, consider how to reach those people who are new to your area.
Historically, our industry approaches the fourth quarter of an election year with caution, knowing that consumer spending can easily swing one way or the other depending on the election results. More than ever before, political tension is running high, but since retailers do not have the competition that they normally would from the travel industry this will continue to work in jewelers’ favor.
Ultimately, 2020 and all that COVID has brought with it has given people an opportunity to reflect on the importance of relationships, mostly resulting from the ‘extra’ time they have spent with family instead of at the office. Retailers are seeing a huge increase in bridal and anniversary sales. If you are not already reaching out to your customers who are soon to be celebrating an anniversary, now is the time to do so.
These two factors are what is driving business and thus making up for the sales lost during the mandated closures. Many stores not only have captured the lost sales from that time, but are also continuing to exceed last year’s numbers on a month-to-month basis. Additionally, the closing of stores in some markets has left the opportunity for remaining strong retailers to gain market share.
As you continue to provide your customers with a safe and friendly environment, we encourage you to be encouraged!
Dan and Lori Askew of Vantage Group strategically examine each area of business and address concerns efficiently to make the greatest impact on cash flow, merchandise planning, inventory control, advertising, and store management. www.VantageGroupinfo.com