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Monday, August 9, 2010

Survey: Affluents Buying More Jewelry from Online and Discount Stores

The worst of the recession may be over for players in the jewelry industry but affluent consumers are trading diamonds and gold for jewelry made with white metals and other materials, according to a recent survey. In addition, these high-worth consumers are turning to online outlets and discount stores.

About 28 percent more affluent consumers purchased jewelry during the first half of 2010 than the same period last year, according to Unity Marketing's latest luxury tracking survey. In addition, the average amount an affluent customer spent on jewelry increased by 7.3 percent.

“More affluent consumers purchasing jewelry and spending more money translates into a newly revitalized market for luxury jewelry,” according to a statement in the survey results, which tracks the purchases of 1,359 affluent Americans.

While consumer spending on luxury jewelry is up, the survey, by the Stevens, Pa., market research firm, reveals changes in what jewelry products people are buying and their preferences in gemstones and metal fabrications. For example, affluent consumers spent less on gold and diamond jewelry in the first half of 2010 as compared to the same period last year. They turned instead toward white metals like sterling silver and platinum and colored semi-precious stones. Further the consumer market for "luxe" crystal and man-made or faux jewelry has never been hotter.

Post-recession the luxury consumers' favorite destinations for jewelry shopping have also shifted, according to the survey. Jewelry stores lost 21 percent of the luxury consumer's share of wallet in the first half of 2010 as the internet and discount stores, outlet stores and warehouse clubs captured more of their spending.

“These changes in product preferences and shopping patterns among affluents hint at even broader changes taking place among the overall jewelry consumer market at all income levels,” said Pam Danziger (pictured), Unity Marketing president and lead researcher in the new jewelry study.

This survey of luxury consumers was conducted July 3-8. The average income of participants was $306,700 and their net worth was $15.2 million. Their average age was 44.8 years old. A total of 45 percent of the participants were male and 55 percent female.

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