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Platinum branded collections continue to thrive despite pandemic, says PGI

20th September 2021

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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Worldwide marketing organisation Platinum Guild International’s (PGI’s) second-quarter 'Platinum Jewellery Business Review' (PJBR) shows that platinum jewellery, especially branded collections, remains resilient amid a still challenging situation in retail in most markets.

Based on the PGI’s quarterly survey among manufacturers, retailers and jewellery consumers, the latest PJBR report examines the sustained positive sentiment in precious jewellery consumption in Japan, the US and China despite headwinds from the new Delta variant.

US

Strong consumer spending supported by vaccinations and economic recovery brought considerable growth in US jewellery retail sales, fuelling positive trade sentiment in the period, the report indicates.

According to the second-quarter consumer survey, confidence in in-person shopping has also improved in the US – 63% of Americans felt completely or mostly comfortable about in-store shopping for jewellery in the period.

Platinum jewellery unit sales from PGI strategic partners doubled, while ounce sales increased by 48% compared with the same quarter last year, driven by considerable growth in gemstone fashion jewellery and bridal jewellery.

An increased number of retailers have created dedicated platinum programmes, especially via branded collections, leveraging platinum to capture high-spending consumers and benefit from high-ticket prices.

JAPAN

The Japanese jewellery market showed considerable growth in the period, with an increased comfort level for jewellery sales in-store, the report indicates.

Jewellery sales saw a significant jump of 70.7% in units, compared with the worst-hit period of Covid-19 in the second quarter of 2020, while platinum jewellery unit sales also rebounded strongly by 68.5%.

Proactive precaution and vaccination measures from jewellers and consumers alike have helped buyers return to buying luxury items.

The higher percentage of fully vaccinated people among the older population is a positive for the luxury category owing to the higher spending power of these age groups, the report indicates. 

With experiential purchases like travel and dining still not possible, jewellery retail sales and high-ticket pieces are benefitting in particular.

Japan remains a consistently strong market for platinum. Unit sales of all price points for platinum jewellery rose against last year’s lows and platinum jewellery continues to be well-placed as price polarisation continues.

INDIA

The second wave of Covid-19 cases has caused another lockdown that disrupted the overall Indian economy and the jewellery market in the period in the second year in a row.

Reopened in June, most jewellery retailers are prepared to make a comeback in the third quarter by focusing on immediate demand with wedding dates and key festivals between July and September.

PGI estimates platinum jewellery sales from key strategic partners in quarter two to stay flat or register a small growth compared with the same period last year. These have taken the initiative to build awareness around the reopening of their stores and assure customers to ensure vaccination of their front-line employees and updated safety protocols as a key priority, PGI notes.

The Indian government has introduced mandatory hallmarking for gold jewellery. This will push the industry towards further consolidation, creating a long-term advantage for the organised trade, and as a result, platinum, PGI says. 

CHINA

In the period, the overall Chinese jewellery industry has seen a continued year-on-year increase, albeit at a slower rate, against slowing overall economic growth.

Platinum gem-set fabrication increased compared with the same quarter last year, driven by pent-up bridal demand and the launch of new collections and designs. Plain platinum jewellery fabrication was down year-over-year, partly owing to market consolidation and a narrowed gold/platinum price gap.

Despite strong competition from gold products, the popularity of platinum branded collections remained robust, as retailers continued to introduce new platinum products.

This partly offset declines in generic product sales and resulted in 6% year-on-year growth in PGI partner retail sales in the first half of the year.

Electroforming platinum could be a highlight in the second half as several manufacturers will launch and promote such products. Platinum jewellery with various materials such as coloured stones, enamel, and melee diamonds could provide the needed stimulus later this year to continue to attract interest from retailers and consumers, says the PGI.

“With the pandemic ongoing and the new Delta variant, uncertainty is a significant risk to businesses and industries. As retailers and businesses continue to improve dedicated platinum strategies and ensure a high-quality and safe shopping experience for consumers, PGI expects to see sustained recovery from most jewellery partners in the second half of 2021,” it says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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