Luxury Market to Grow by Double Digits

We publish courtesy of Gems & Gemology eBrief

Authors: Russell Shor


 

Recovery from the economic downtown has been a painfully slow process for retail jewelers in the U.S. and Europe. The top end, however, is rallying much more quickly, according to a Bain & Co. market study on luxury goods.

The consulting firm predicted that worldwide jewelry sales would rise 13% this year, with the fastest growth (20%) coming from online sales. The report noted that luxury sales in general rose 5% in the first quarter and climbed to 16% by mid-year before slowing a bit in the third quarter. The strongest growth, as expected, is forecast for Asia, but U.S. luxury consumers have returned to the stores and are likely to boost their spending about 12% this year over last.

As if to prove the Bain report, the Oct. 20 jewelry auction at Christie’s New York brought in $52.5 million — 90% by lot and 95% by value — numbers rarely reached even in prosperous times. The top lot, a Bulgari ring featuring a 10.95 ct Fancy Vivid blue diamond and a 9.87 ct G-VS1 diamond, sold for more than $15.7 million. Several pieces with large D-Flawless diamonds broke the $100,000 per carat level. While private Asian buyers took several top lots, most of the jewelry was purchased by Americans.

These auction results underscore a key advantage of the luxury market: it tends to be more international and thus far less dependent on local economic conditions.

Russell Shor
Senior Industry Analyst, GIA Carlsbad

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