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Enjoy The Ride

By Ellen Fruchtman, President 

We set some high bars this holiday season and all expectations indicate it’s going to be a good one (again) for the world of fine jewelry. Short-term gains should always be leading to long-term strategies. So even though your eye is on the immediate prize, 2022 is just around the corner and the winds may shift. As a news and political junkie, no matter what side of the fence you are on, it’s hard to ignore the “climate change” going on right now. The great news for you is that people are still not sure about expensive travel (one of jewelry’s biggest competitors), and like last year, that money will transfer to fine jewelry. This holiday season will be stellar.

What about the news?

People are constantly hearing about supply chain issues. And, it’s very true. Empty shelves are a real reminder as we head to the grocery and larger chain stores. Shipping wait times for products are longer than ever. What an amazing opportunity for retail jewelers! You have the product right there. In-stock. No waiting. If you haven’t already, contact your suppliers right now, and yes, stock up even more on fast-sellers! In-stock affordable merchandise will be key in 2022. According to an article posted in September on PYMTS.com, and a study conducted by MasterCard, “Nearly every retail category is expected to see a double-digit rise in sales leading up to the holidays, with luxury projected to see a nearly 93% year-over-year increase and jewelry set to see a 59% jump”.” A 59% jump? I wouldn’t go that far. And, let’s remember surveys do not necessarily reflect “fine” jewelry with price-points of a certain minimum. I’d go with lower double-digits. But, hell, I’d also take it any day of the week!

What about 2022?

As a strategic firm, we’re thinking about that now. The holidays for us are entering the rear-view mirror. And my thinking is this: All good rides come to an end. This large retail wave can’t certainly last forever. Which is not to say it’s going to crash and burn. But I do believe we will see a slow-down.  We will see a change in consumer behavior which is totally influenced by what they feel in their wallet. That means you need to be having discussions sooner than later about strategy. Regardless of your personal opinion, keep a pulse on your customers. What they are thinking. You all have friends in your personal economic circle. Talk to them! They will provide a great window into what you need to be thinking about in everything from product selection and merchandising to marketing messaging. Stand back and talk to your customers beyond your circle, a good cross-section of buyers. Engage in some good banter. Talk to your staff and see what they are feeling and thinking! Part of what we all forget to do is to step back and listen. It is never only about what you feel. It is always about what they feel. If I had to sum up 2022 in one word, it would be Caution.

You are going into another great holiday season. So for now, enjoy the ride.

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