Merrick, NY—The third week of the 2012 holiday season has proven very strong for the majority of prestige jewelers, but there are some areas of the country where mitigating circumstances are holding sales back.
More than half of respondents to the third week of The Centurion’s annual holiday spot-check survey are reporting higher sales this year than for the same period last year, and almost one-third of all respondents have seen growth of 10% or higher over 2011. 13.6% are up between 6% and 10% for the period, and just over 9% report modest gains between 1% and 5%.
“Really strong and consistent day-to-day this year! We hope the trend continues!” wrote one respondent.
“Quiet in terms of numbers of people, but positive in terms of average sales,” wrote another. Another respondent said he feels comfortable because he knows there are a few big sales coming in that will make the month’s numbers regardless of day-to-day traffic. And another put it quite simply, “Wowie!”
18.2% of respondents are tracking evenly with last year. But an equal number reported significant drops—more than 10%—from this week last year. Said one, “Last year was terrible. No cotton crop. We are way down from two years ago.” Another wrote, “We still have very little traffic throughout our whole center.” And another said a huge sale helped spike last year’s figures, but he doesn’t anticipate a repeat of that sale and sees no way to make up the difference this year.
Separately from the survey, luxury jewelers in the areas hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy also have tempered their expectations. In a private conversation earlier this year, one very upscale jeweler pointed out that while neither his store nor the town it’s in suffered damage, many of his customers have summer homes at the New Jersey shore that were damaged or destroyed. He already knew, even a month ago, that it would affect his holiday sales this year.
A snapshot of prestige jewelers' sales for the third week of the season: the greatest percentage (salmon slice) saw their sales grow more than 10% over the same period last year. The purple slice represents those whose sales grew between 6% and 10%. Equal numbers of jewelers reported sales even or significantly down (orange and aqua slices), and equal numbers also reported more modest increases or decreases (blue and brown slices).
In the wider retail picture, ComScore, a leading digital analytics firm, this week released figures showing a 13% increase in online spending for the 2012 holiday season so far vs. the same period in 2011. The Reston, VA-based organization says that for the first 44 days of the season (November 1 to December 14), $33.8 billion was spent online. The most recent full workweek (last week) saw sales eclipse $1 billion per day for four of the five workdays, led by Green Monday (December 10), which saw sales of $1.275 billion that day alone.
ComScore also keeps a ranking of the top 10 days for online spending in history. Seven of those dates fell in 2012 with the leading date being Cyber Monday (November 26) at $1.4 billion. Here is ComScore's list:
ComScore's findings reinforce the growing importance of digital as a shopping channel. A recent study of affluent consumers conducted by Stevens, PA-based Unity Marketing shows 98% of them had shopped online in the three month period of the survey.