As the summer season comes to an end, the unofficial jewelry season approaches as fall offers much more variety to style. In fact, I just returned from my little restful mini-vacation. Now the work begins for the jewelry and watches industry to end the year on the right note. Fall announcements are being sent throughout the Internet about bold new ideas, marketing mergers, and of course new products. New York Fashion Week kicks off the international fall fashion calendar, in which jewelry has had more influence in recent years. The arts, which rule the social calendar in places like New York and Los Angeles, begin in earnest in September with the support of several luxury jewelries and watch companies.
Following the fall season will be the Christmas season, the most important time for US retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers, and arguably the most important time in what is still the most important market for the jewelry and watch industry. And there’s this little thing known as the presidential election, which has its own season that hits full steam in the fall and will no doubt dominate discussions until the November election.
Shrinking of the Jewelry Industry
There’s no shortage of extremely well-designed high-end jewelry and exquisite watches. There will also be plenty of products for the mass market. The issue is whether people are going to be excited about buying these products. One saving grace for suppliers is that the cost of materials is falling, particularly diamonds. The price of gold has also dropped a bit and the price has remained steady.
The biggest and best companies will survive this uncertainty, whether it’s mass-market jewelers and department stores or the luxury conglomerates. However, I fear there will be another shrinking of the jewelry industry, primarily among independent retailers. Since I began writing about the jewelry industry in 2000, there has been a gradual shrinking of independent retail jewelers and domestic manufacturers in the U.S. In 2008 and 2009, the industry suffered a full contraction and nearly collapsed. It still hasn’t recovered and shows no sign that it has the capability to do so in this struggling economy and changing world, the pandemic has only worsened the already bad situation. There are lots of reasons for this and these reasons will be topics for future discussions. However, there is always hope for recovery.
The parties and unveilings in New York will be as grand as ever. I just sometimes wonder if behind the champagne toasts and bright lights is an industry that is largely sinking into irrelevance for the vast majority who work in it.