The ‘discretionary’ dilemma

The following article appears courtesy of: National Jeweler

Author: Michelle Graff

National Jeweler’s Product Panel shows that non-bridal diamond jewelry sales are down for 64 percent or respondents. These 18-karat yellow gold “raw” diamond cluster earrings from Todd Reed retail for $6,600. ToddReed.com

There is no question that diamonds that do not come in the form of an engagement ring or wedding band have been a tough sell during this recession, as cash-strapped consumers turned away from discretionary purchases to shore up their savings, or simply make their mortgage payments.

A whopping 79 percent of those who participated in National Jeweler‘s Product Panel on non-bridal diamond jewelry reported that their sales in this category were flat (15 percent), down slightly (33 percent) or down significantly (31 percent) due to the economy. To download the full data report, click here.

It has been difficult, no doubt, but the challenges are not enough to make jewelers abandon staples like diamond pendants, stud earrings or line bracelets. Instead, store owners have found creative ways to get customers in the door and over to the diamond display cases.

Dazzling ideas

The greatest percentage of survey respondents (54 percent) said that they sold more diamond earrings than any other non-bridal type of jewelry, a detail that didn’t escape one survey-taker who is capitalizing on the category’s popularity.

“We have always done well with diamond earrings,” the retailer wrote. “Now we keep the idea of diamond earrings out in front of the customer a little more. We also offer and mention ‘trade back in for larger’ more often.”

Another jeweler has adopted the strategy of separating from the herd.

“Everyone has moved to lower price points so we have become unique as the only store that carries higher price-point items,” the respondent noted.

Old is cool

Also a hot topic for survey-takers: “re-makes” or custom work that involves making old, out-of-style pieces new again.

One retailer described putting a “green” spin on the store’s re-make work by marketing it as recycled.

“This simple promo has had a huge response in a cash-strapped economy and on our bottom line,” the retailer wrote. “The surprising twist is, because they are ‘saving,’ customers will add more melée or pair the originals with another significant stone, often spending just as much as they would if they were buying a new piece of jewelry but get more value!!! Recommendations have been through the roof!”

This story first appeared in the April print edition of National Jeweler.

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