After such an unusual year, the last thing we need is another 2020 wrap-up or a 2021 prediction. Instead, I will share what I see happening right now in the most significant place for the diamond industry: US retail sales.
In brief, specialty jewelers’ December retail sales appear to be up 160-170% over November. This is above average. In the past ten years, December sales have risen 122%.
Diamond Jewelry Performance
Diamond jewelry did better too. Diamonds are always a go-to product in the holiday season, and this year was no exception – unless you consider the sharp rise in sales. As expected, consumers everywhere rushed to buy diamond jewelry because of the impact of the pandemic.
As expected, LGDs had a great year. Helped by the pandemic, LGD-set stud earrings were more popular than before, posting a substantial rise.
That said, a pattern is developing. Although sales of LGD-set jewelry rose with the holiday tide, their share compared to natural diamonds tends to decline in November and December – especially in December. This was true this year too.
2020 Jewelry Sales
Jewelry sales in 2020 (are you sitting?) are up year over year. Not by a whole lot, but enough to outdo 2019. The insatiable appetite of the American consumer for something stable, known, and long lasting has served jewelry well. It served the diamond industry especially well.
Farewell 2020, Hello 2021
The past year was an incredible experience. It taught me a lot about the industry, human behavior under extreme circumstances, and the power of friendship. It also reinforced the importance of having a strong scientific community and by extension a thriving education system.
There was plenty to learn about the need for flexibility in thought and business activity, learning how to adapt and grow. I am a sucker for self-challenges and, as such, 2020 was an incredible year.
My most heartfelt wish for the coming year is that we all remember the lessons of 2020 and apply them in the future.
Have an incredibly happy and successful New Year!