When COVID-19 struck, many people had to cut down on luxuries to cope with the abrupt changes of the times. Workers were laid off from their jobs, and some received significant salary cuts although keeping their positions.
In times of crisis such as the current pandemic, one might assume that one of the first things a person gives up is jewelry. It is, after all, not quite a necessity, especially when many interactions are still taking place online despite looser restrictions and wider vaccinations. However, the numbers suggest otherwise.
A CNN report from October of last year showed that sales for fine jewelry rose 10% in August 2020 compared to sales in 2019. Only wealthier Americans seem to be in on this trend, though, as lower-income Americans are not among those helping the rise in sales.
Now that we have established that fine jewelry is still selling today thanks to investments from the affluent population, how about your local handcrafted jewelry businesses? Do they still have a chance today?
Wait, How About Watches?
As smartwatches continue to grow in popularity, do watches still have a place in people’s lives today? If they can have various technological capabilities on their wrist through the different smartwatches today, would anyone still opt for a traditional wristwatch?
Think about it: the watch’s primary function is to tell the time. Many smartphones and smartwatches today do the same thing and do it more accurately than your traditional watch. Owners need to manually input the time on their watches to make sure they are telling time correctly.
But don’t write off your local wristwatch stores just yet, because wristwatches are far from being obsolete. This is because people do not see the purpose of watches as solely for timekeeping.
Michelle Graff cites a number of uses in her article for the National Jeweler. Men say they wear watches as an accessory. On the other hand, women have noted convenience and accessorizing as top reasons for still wearing watches.
Wristwatches still have distinct designs and appearances from the smartwatches of today. As long as people like how they look on their wrists, people will keep wearing them.
How Can Local Jewelry Businesses Make Their Mark?
The jewelry market is already a saturated one, but it still has room for new players to come in. A new business will, however, need to brand itself distinctly from existing businesses to grow successfully.
Determine your niche
When starting a jewelry business, you have to decide which market you will be targeting. There are usually two categories to this: fine or fashion.
Fine jewelry is on the expensive side, and they are more carefully made than mass-produced jewelry. People usually purchase fine jewelry for special occasions, such as weddings and engagements. Wealthier customers also buy them as investments. On the other hand, fashion jewelry is cheaper and mass-produced, so it uses materials that are significantly lower in quality. Fashion jewelry is marketed to regular, everyday customers.
You can also go for a mid-range product line, where items involve more craftsmanship than fashion jewelry. Still, the materials are not as expensive or high-quality as fine jewelry.
Understand current trends
If you don’t know which route you are going to take, it is great to look into current trends in jewelry. This informs you if the direction you want to take is smart, especially with the world situation right now.
You should look into not just jewelry trends but also consumer behavior. Find out what consumers are looking for from the businesses they buy from.
Are they looking for a low price range? Do they want materials to be ethically sourced and environmentally friendly? Do they prefer pieces that they can use every day?
Brand your business accordingly
When you have figured out what solid direction your business will take, you must develop a brand that further distinguishes you from existing companies, especially competitors. This way, consumers can easily recall your business in the industry.
Guide your customers into how to view your business and your products. Is your brand more sophisticated and elegant or more trendy and fun? Tell customers about the products you sell and how you make them to help them understand why you are in the price range that you are in.
So yes, people still do buy jewelry today. Wealthy Americans remain the biggest market for fine jewelry. However, for mid-range to fashion jewelry, people will still keep purchasing these accessories, so long as they find a use for them—whether aesthetic or functional.