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Good news for sector as report finds jewellery and watch purchasing has increased in the last five years

Two thirds of people have bought jewellery or watches for themselves or someone else within the past five years, according to research firm Mintel’s new Jewellery and Watch Retailing report for 2019.

According to the research, which was published last week and can be purchased in full here, this represents an increase of 5 percentage points in comparison to 2018.

Mintel found that the purchasing of jewellery and watches has increased across the board, with more people buying for themselves or as a gift for someone else.

Watches and costume jewellery are the most popular personal purchases but when it comes to gifting, precious jewellery was the winner.

Of the types of jewellery people are buying, necklaces were found to be the most popular type of jewellery with half of those who have bought jewellery within the last five years saying they purchased a necklace. Earrings were a very close second to this.

In terms of occasions when people buy jewellery, two in five (43%) jewellery or watch shoppers said they have bought for a birthday, whilst a third (32%) said they shop for jewellery at Christmas time.

The research also showed that men are significantly more likely to buy jewellery and watches for an occasion, with 86% of men doing so compared to 76% of women.

Demi-fine jewellery has helped to drive jewellery sales in 2019, with the category growing by an estimated 3.1% during the year.

Unlike the watch market, which is largely driven by brands, jewellery shoppers are moving away from branded pieces and gravitating more towards niche pieces with interesting or unusual gemstones.

When it comes to the factors which influence a customers’ jewellery purchasing, good customer service came out on top as the thing most likely to encourage a purchase, with location and recommendations from friends and family also playing a part in people’s decision making.

Commenting on the findings, Mintel said: “Trends in jewellery such as curated piercings and personalisation through interesting gemstones emerging in the jewellery market are proving popular among a new, younger customer base.

“There continues to be a growing appetite for demi-fine jewellery, and many are trading up from cheaper options to buy into these slightly pricier pieces.

“However, the trend away from branded jewellery has continued, with many big names in jewellery suffering while people are instead opting for niche brands that have become ubiquitous on social media and online high-end retailers such as Net-a-Porter.

“High street trading is likely to continue presenting challenges as we continue to see CVAs and a decline in footfall. Many are opting to buy online, making it more necessary than ever for retailers to up their customer service and improve the in-store experience to bring in footfall.

“Overall, the future looks bright for the jewellery and watch market, which is outperforming other fashion categories. However, it is not completely safe from the general retail malaise.”


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