FUELED IN PART by pent-up demand, pent-up savings and government stimulus, U.S. consumers are heading into the holiday season with the desire and means to purchase luxury items, especially fine jewelry, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.
Jewelry sales from November 1 to December 24 are projected to rise 59% in 2021 vs. 2020. And when comparing anticipated jewelry sales with the pre-pandemic holiday season of 2019, the jump is nearly as impressive at 52.9%.
Over the past six months, the luxury retail and jewelry sectors have been experiencing dramatic growth. During the summer, for instance, Mastercard reported that July 2021 jewelry sales had jumped an impressive 54.2% compared to pre-pandemic July 2019 levels. August 2021 jewelry sales rose 58.9% over the same month in 2019.
Mastercard SpendingPulse is able to take a unique picture of the retail landscape because it measures overall sales across all payment types, including credit cards, cash and checks.
“This holiday season will be defined by early shopping, bigger price tags and digital experiences,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “Over the past two years, retailers have learned a lot about what shoppers want and need, bringing us into an exciting new age of retail resilience.”
In the chart, above, Mastercard SpendingPulse compares the traditional selling season to an extended one that starts October 11 and runs through December 24. The company defines that period as the 75 Days of Christmas.
For the jewelry sector, sales in that extended period closely mirror the impressive stats for the traditional holiday period.
While luxury goods and jewelry will be the hottest categories this holiday season, overall sales (excluding automotive and gas) are predicted to grow at a robust 7.4% compared to 2020, and 11.1% compared with 2019.
“Retailers have been preparing for this moment and will find innovative ways to deliver on what’s bound to be the biggest holiday shopping season yet,” noted Sadove.