New data shows that jewelry has been one of the hardest hit retail sectors during the pandemic.
Other reports indicate that website traffic to online jewelry retailers has steadily declined since February 25.
However, some retailers in this vertical (most outside of the fine jewelry market segment) are seeing remarkable sales growth in recent months.
The direct-to-consumer (DTC) market for jewelry appears to be booming.
Take Gorjana, for example. They are currently experiencing 300% year-to-date growth, with monthly growth of 400% between April and May.
Additionally, the brand had a record day on May 4, signaling the highest day of online sales in the company’s history.
In their case, the sudden change caused by COVID-19 was actually helpful: with their wholesale business shutting down and spring and summer orders being canceled by partners, Gorjana didn’t had no choice but to finally prioritize its DTC business.
“COVID-19 has been the great equalizer,” said Jason Griffin Reidel, co-founder of the brand. “With 16 of our retail stores closed and two more with delayed openings, this meant that over the past two months we had to become an e-commerce only business.”
As such, the brand had to focus its attention on a single channel with more intentional messaging, product drops and ad spend, while working with condensed teams.
“The growth is attributed to the fact that our energies aren’t distributed to other parts of the business,” Reidel said.
“Running a DTC channel and also running a wholesale channel is like running two completely separate businesses, so being able to focus on just one, the one you have direct control over, was powerful.”
Another jewelry brand that has seen record e-commerce sales in recent weeks is Kendra Scott.
Pivoting to accommodate the shift to online shopping, the brand began offering virtual try-ons leveraging augmented reality and machine learning technology, created a “ship-from-store program” to complement its Austin distribution center and implemented a curbside pickup program.
As a result, the brand has seen several days so far where online sales have exceeded historical sales performance at their physical retail stores.
The examples continue, further illustrating that these marks are not exceptions or outliers, but that there is a larger trend here.
Jewelry brands like Luv AJ saw sales jump 250% for items in the $40-60 range from mid-March to late May. Bagatiba sales increased by 63% in April and May compared to January-March 2020. Kinn’s monthly sales jumped by 30% in May.
So what is driving this surge in jewelry purchases during a global crisis?
If you ask Ana Andjelic, head of strategy, that’s partly because jewelry isn’t a fashion buy, which means it’s more or less trend-proof.
“Buying a piece of jewelery is a timeless purchase that will not lose value, and because this market is more fragmented today, it is no longer a massive investment – you can find a ring or a bracelet for the price of a pair of jeans (and I would definitely wear it more than jeans right now.)”
She also went on to say that the recent uptick may be partly due to the emotions behind jewelry purchases, explaining that consumers sometimes buy jewelry for themselves, either as a reward or as a “pick-up.”
“I can see a lot of consumers swinging between those two moods right now,” she said.
Jewelry industry expert Liz Kantner added that the strategic use of social media is another factor contributing to sales growth in this vertical right now.
Consulting with various independent jewelry brands, she noticed that those who shared video content on social platforms to give context to their products and designs made deeper connections with customers and ultimately generated more. of sales.
Overall, this growth trend in the jewelry industry appears to align with a bigger shift unfolding in real time: retailers selling non-essential products are seeing record online sales.