It’s nearly the end of October, and that means the retail world is gearing up for the biggest consumer sales period of the year. “Holiday season”, as it’s known, stretches from Halloween on October 31, through New Year’s, and represents the largest sales across a wide range of consumer products.
From food and wine, decorations and gifts, to apparel, electronics, and luxury items, such as perfumes, watches and diamond jewelry, the holiday season is an exciting time for retailers. And with good reason. Last year, in the US, consumers spent nearly $700 million in November and December alone.
Although a serious chunk of diamond and jewelry spending occurs in the holiday season, there are other times of year that are also busy for jewelry retailers. Let’s take a quick trip through the yearly calendar, and explore the peak jewelry and diamond buying periods for consumers:
Synonymous with love and romance, Valentine’s Day seems like a “no-brainer” when it comes to diamond and jewelry gifts. Indeed, of the $19.6 billion projected Valentine’s Day spending in the US this year, nearly $5 billion will go to jewelry gifts. That’s one-quarter of Valentine’s gift spending devoted to jewelry and diamonds.
One of the hallmarks of Valentine’s Day shopping is that people don’t plan their gift purchases so long in advance. While Christmas shopping may involve weeks or even months of planning, the same is not true of Valentine’s. Forty-six percent of Valentines shoppers begin shopping in early February, just a week or two before the holiday.
Landing in May in the United States, Mother’s Day has become a commercialized shopping occasion that drives a small surge in retail sales. Jewelry is one of those segments that enjoys a spike in Mother’s Day sales, with 34% of Mother’s Day shoppers opting to buy jewelry.
However, jewelry is not the most popular Mother’s Day gift, with gift cards, flowers and dining out catching more consumer interest. As a holiday for children to give gifts to their mothers, it could be that luxury items, such as diamonds and jewelry, are simply out of financial reach or not a practical gift idea. Larger ticket items are probably better suited to more grand gift-giving occasions, such as Christmas or personal milestones, like anniversaries.
Although Mother’s Day did not start out as a commercial, consumer-oriented occasion, the fact is, that’s what it has become. Jewelry retailers may want to focus on simple Mother’s Day campaigns promoting affordable jewelry options, rather than more expensive jewelry pieces.
When it comes to consumer shopping, there’s no day quite like Black Friday. Together with its online sister sale day, Cyber Monday, it’s the weekend when everyone is shopping for bargains. Last Black Friday, 174 million American shoppers spent an average of $335 per person in the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday period. Last year, there was an upward trend in sales of luxury goods, such as designer handbags. Where do diamonds and jewelry come in? Black Friday is a time for bargain hunting. According to shopping experts, jewelry doesn’t usually see good discounts during Black Friday, therefore people are less inclined to buy. Many prefer to buy jewelry later in the year, closer to Christmas or even after, when jewelry offers and discounts are more abundant in the market.
According to Forbes, many jewelry stores can expect to make 20% of their annual sales during the month of December. Not surprising, considering that one in four shoppers intend to give a gift of jewelry at Christmas.
Jewelry is and continues to be a very popular Christmas gift choice. Christmas is a time when boutique jewelry stores have a definite advantage over mass-market chains and online jewelry and diamond sellers. People purchasing jewelry gifts for Christmas are highly invested, both emotionally and financially, in the purchase decision. Stores can leverage this once-a-year festive spirit with luxury promotions, in-store decorations, and sales campaigns for brands and collections with the potential to hit the high note at Christmas.
For those in the Commonwealth countries, including the UK, Britain and Australia, let’s not forget the traditional Boxing Day sales. Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, and is considered one of the biggest bargain-spotting days in Commonwealth. Last year, Australians spent around $2.4 billion on Boxing Day sales, while in the UK, one in three Britons were expected to participate in Boxing Day sales, where retail prices were slashed by up to 90%.
Boxing Day, like Black Friday, has a bargain-hunting vibe – not necessarily suited to luxury or jewelry purchases – and indeed this is felt in the lower sales of luxury goods compared to other types of purchases, such as electronics or apparel.
So, we’ve covered the main sales periods in the Western calendar, in the northern and southern hemispheres.
However, some of the biggest generators of consumer jewelry spending are not found on printed calendars, of course. Rather it is personal or lifecycle events, such as engagements, anniversaries, births and birthdays, that inspire people to spend on luxury jewels and jewelry. And there are plenty of other reasons why people buy diamonds and jewelry. For jewelry retailers, getting a good grasp of the annual consumer shopping calendar makes it easier to leverage opportunities and boost sales.