IIndependent jewelers ended a banner year for sales with one of their strongest Decembers on record, according to INSTORE’s latest mini-survey of the 2021 holiday season.
Ninety percent of jewelers surveyed reported sales growth over the same period last year, with nearly two-thirds saying their sales had increased by 25% or more.
“Crazy busy,” said Erika Godfrey, owner of Hawthorne Jewelry in Kearney, NE. “I’ve sold a few really big pieces, a lot out of the box and not as many on special orders. It’s been a tiring and exhilarating season.
” What year ! It’s what dreams are made of,” said Eileen Eichhorn, 56-year-old owner of Eichhorn Jewelry, in Decatur, IN, adding that her customers are willing to splurge on “anything diamond.”
Many jewelers had entered the season with high expectations. The INSTORE Jewelers Confidence Index was near an all-time high in November and in September a large majority of jewelers had told the 2021 Big Survey that they were on track for their best year ever. And yet, the vigor of the holiday season still caught many people off guard, with 31% saying it was better than expected and a further 41% describing it as “great”.
The robust sales appeared to be driven by a combination of the current buoyant economy and a host of factors that stemmed from the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Duma, whose Thom Duma Fine Jewelers store in Warren, OH, saw sales growth of more than 25%, said it was difficult to pinpoint a single factor. “Consumer goods stranded offshore, luxury travel still in the tank, government money in the economy, low unemployment…I don’t know why, but I love it when it happens “, did he declare.
Likewise, no one category dominated sales, with jewelers reporting strong sales in everything from engagement rings and silver products to lab-grown diamonds and custom orders. If there was a common theme, it was that the object was a “quirky treasure,” Sherrie said.
Schilling-Devaney, owner of Sherrie’s jewelry box in Tigard, OR.
With the key holiday season behind them, many jewelers surveyed said they were looking forward to a break to recuperate and then prepare for 2022, a year that perhaps promises more good times but also uncertainty.
“Congratulations to anyone starting an adventure in starting a new independent jewelry store. I can’t imagine meeting with a banker and trying to explain a successful business plan with so many economic variables,” Dennis commented. Petimezas, owner of
Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, in Johnstown, PA.
Valerie Goodwin of Vaughan’s Jewelry in Edenton, NC added, “I’m going to ride this train until it stops. I’m saving and trying to buy for when things slow down.
The fourth INSTORE mini-survey for the 2021 holiday season was conducted after the New Years weekend and taken by over 100 independent jewelers who are part of our Brain Squad reader group.