U.S. Jewelry Market Becoming More FragmentedNovember 10, 04
The U.S. jewelry market is becoming an increasingly fragmented and complex market in which Wal-Mart is the leading jeweler despite the fact that most of the prime jewelry buying public – women aged 25-54 - almost never buy at the retail giant or any other mass merchant/discounter.
That means that Wal-Mart has been propelled to predominance by lower-income consumers who spend less than $100 on a piece of jewelry, explains Pam Danziger, president of research firm Unity Marketing and author of a report Why People Buy Things They Don’t Need.
“Today there isn’t just one jewelry market. Rather when we talk about jewelry consumers, we need to look at discreet segments characterized by entirely different patterns of buying behavior.
“There are men buyers vs. women buyers; fine jewelry vs. costume jewelry buyers; gift purchasers vs. self purchasers. These segments overlap and intersect, requiring marketers and retailers to shift and turn in response to which type of customer is in view. Whereas the jewelry business used to be simple, today it is much more complex due to increasing market fragmentation.”
Other findings in the report on the American jewelry market, that was worth $53.6 billion last year, are that 20 percent of jewelry shoppers are using non-store channels for their purchases - either the Internet, mail order or television shopping. Jewelry shoppers are also increasingly comfortable buying jewelry through direct channels, with eBay being the leading destination for non-store shoppers in this category.
For the most recent jewelry item bought, non-store channels rank among the top three shopping sources for buyers of jewelry priced under $500. And for those spending more than $500, non-store is the second most popular source.
Meanwhile, for most jewelry shoppers, apart from the highest-spenders, department stores are the favored channel, with JC Penney’s and Sears being the top store brands.
When selecting a store for jewelry shopping, shoppers first look for good prices and secondly the quality of merchandise. But good prices don’t necessarily mean ‘cheap prices.’ What jewelry shoppers value most of all is getting good value for a reasonable price.