SOME TWO-THIRDS of independent jewelers reported that their sales increased last year over 2019 despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, according to the INSTORE 2021 Big Survey.
The strong result marks a dramatic turnaround from the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak when many jewelers openly wondered if they would be able to survive until the end of the summer as government mandates forced them to close their doors and consumers were locked in their homes.
Almost one-third of the jewelers who responded to the 2021 Big Survey, said their 2020 sales surged more than 20 percent over 2019’s level. Seven percent said they were flat and only 27 percent said they were down.
“It was great actually,” one jeweler said of the impact of the pandemic on his store’s financial performance.
Respondents cited customer and staff loyalty, community resiliency and adaptation to new conditions as reasons for the generally better than expected business results. Enforced savings and the inability of consumers to spend money on traveling and other entertainment supported strong jewelry sales.
Some jewelers described the pandemic as providing impetus for change, resulting in a boost for business.
“The pandemic lockdown changed my goals for my company,” said one jeweler. “We’ll be downsizing in 2022, focusing on custom designs and bridal, moving to appointments and reducing our hours even further. Mobile, estate appraisal work (with law firms and clients) has become an unexpected phenomenal and fun revenue stream.”
Other jewelers cited community support and innovation as key not only to survival but to better sales than ever.
“Our small town really supported local businesses and it was a wonderful … We offered home delivery and curbside pick up, and became as innovative as possible!” said one store owner.
The 2021 Big Survey was carried out between August and September, attracting more than 600 anonymous responses from owners of independent jewelry stores across the United States and Canada. The full results will be published in the upcoming November issue of INSTORE.