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Platinum jewellery demand held up well in the second quarter

7th September 2021

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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The latest Platinum Jewellery Business Review, published by Platinum Guild International (PGI), shows that platinum jewellery remains resilient amid a still challenging situation in retail in most markets.

Particularly, PGI reports that branded collections are doing well, despite headwinds from the Delta variant of Covid-19 infections globally.

Looking at the US market, PGI notes that strong consumer spending, supported by vaccinations and economic recovery, has contributed to remarkable growth in jewellery retail sales, fuelling positive trade sentiment in the second quarter of the year.

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

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

The guild states that an increased number of retailers have created dedicated platinum programmes, especially through branded collections, leveraging platinum to capture high-spending consumers and benefit from high-ticket prices.

Further, the Japanese jewellery market showed remarkable growth in the second quarter, with an increased comfort level for jewellery sales in-store.

Jewellery sales increased by 70.7% in units, compared with what had been the 2020 quarter worst-hit by Covid-19, 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 luxury buying.

PGI says 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.

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, with unit sales of all price points for platinum jewellery having soared against last year’s lows and platinum jewellery continues to be well-placed as price polarisation continues.

In India, the second wave of Covid-19 cases has caused another lockdown that disrupted the overall economy and the jewellery market in the second quarter of the year, for the second year in a row.

As they reopened in June, most jewellery retailers 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 the second quarter to stay flat or register modest growth compared with the same period last year.

They 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.

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

Moreover, the overall Chinese jewellery industry has seen a continued year-on-year increase, albeit at a slower rate, in the second quarter of the year, 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-on-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 with innovative technology and contemporary designs through those branded collections to bring new excitement and novelty to consumers.

PGI reports that 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 this year.

The guild points out that electroforming platinum could be a highlight in the second half of the year, 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.

With the pandemic ongoing and the Delta variant continuing to spread, 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 this year.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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