U.S. Platinum Jewelry Demand Starts 2022 on a Strong Note
Despite supply chain challenges and economic obstacles associated with the Russia-Ukraine war, platinum jewelry sales in the U.S. started the year on a strong foot.
According to the Platinum Guild International’s most recent Platinum Jewellery Business Review, platinum jewelry ounce sales at PGI’s U.S. partners were up 23 percent year-over-year in the first quarter.
Bridal jewelry and gemstone fashion jewelry saw strong momentum during the quarter with double-digit growth compared to the prior-year period, while diamond fashion jewelry sales jumped by double digits, according to PGI.
PGI also noted its branded collection, Platinum Born, saw sales double in Q1.
All of this came despite the U.S. GDP contracting by an annualized rate of 1.5 percent in Q1, reflecting decreases in private inventory investment, exports, and government spending.
Also, in March, inflation across all categories rose to historic levels—8.5 percent year-over year. The stock market rose during the month but then stumbled again on the last day of the quarter.
The Consumer Confidence Index was up slightly in March following a February increase, though it was still below January levels, and the Expectations Index maintained its downward trend amid increased concerns over rising prices and the Russia-Ukraine war, challenges that are expected to limit spending further in the months ahead.
Still, PGI said its U.S. partners are predicting positive results for the rest of 2022, noting the jewelry industry may have some insulation against continued inflation as luxury consumers are not yet feeling the squeeze.
PGI also conducted a consumer sentiment survey, interviewing 2,000 jewelry buyers and wearers from ages 18 to 65 in four key markets—China, India, Japan, and the U.S.—who have bought or expect to buy fine jewelry.
Results of the survey show that demand in most markets continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, PGI said, however it noted that as it was conducted in mid-March, results don’t reflect the sentiments that might have been negatively affected by the latest lockdown measures in China.
Key insights from the March survey are as follows.
--The majority of U.S. consumers have plans to acquire non-bridal fine jewelry in the next 12 months—57 percent of surveyed consumers plan to buy jewelry for themselves and 62 percent plan to buy jewelry as a gift in the next 12 months, down from 63 and 67 percent in August 2021, respectively.
--More consumers plan to buy bridal in India, China, and Japan in the next 12 months compared with August 2021, while there is a decline in the U.S.
--American consumer sentiment towards the future economy has also dropped, with less than 40 percent believing it will improve within the next six months.
--Retail stores are still critical for jewelry sales and remain the top channel for jewelry purchases in all markets.
--Preference for online jewelry shopping has stayed relatively stable in Japan, China, and the U.S., while seeing a 3 percent increase in India.
--Consumers in the U.S. are showing a higher awareness of responsible sourcing of jewelry materials, and 72 percent of surveyed Americans said they believe responsibly sourced jewelry is important.
--Of all the key sustainability factors affecting jewelry buying decisions, 77 percent of Americans chose “responsibly sourced materials” as one of the top three important factors, which is up from 63 percent last August. Fifty-four percent chose “environmental impact,” and 51 percent chose “traceability of materials,” up 3 percent from last year’s survey.