Platinum Branded Collections Continue to Thrive against Pandemic
(7 Sep 2021, Hong Kong) – Platinum Guild International (PGI) publishes the Q2 2021 Platinum Jewellery Business Review (PJBR), which shows that platinum jewellery, especially branded collections, remains resilient amidst a still challenging situation in retail in most markets. Based on PGI’s quarterly survey among manufacturers, retailers and jewellery consumers, the Q2 2021 PJBR report examines the sustained positive sentiment in precious jewellery consumption despite headwinds from the new Delta variant. For the full report, please visit here.
A market-by-market platinum jewellery industry review
The United States
Strong consumer spending supported by vaccinations and economic recovery brought remarkable growth in jewellery retail sales, fuelling positive trade sentiment in Q2. According to the Q2 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 Q2.
Platinum jewellery unit sales from PGI 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. An increased number of retailers has created dedicated platinum programmes, especially via branded collections, leveraging platinum to capture high-spending consumers and benefit from high-ticket prices.
The Japanese jewellery market showed remarkable growth in Q2 2021, with an increased comfort level for jewellery sales in-store. Q2 2021 jewellery sales saw a significant jump of 70.7% in units, compared to the worst-hit period of COVID-19 in Q2 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 luxury purchasing. The higher percentage of fully vaccinated people among the older population is a positive for the luxury category due 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, unit sales of all price points for platinum jewellery soared against last year’s lows and platinum jewellery continues to be well-placed as price polarisation continues.
The second wave of COVID-19 cases has caused another lockdown that disrupted the overall economy and the jewellery market in Q2 2021 in the second year in a row. Reopened in June, most jewellery retailers are prepared to make a comeback in Q3 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 Q2 to stay flat or register a small 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 put the industry towards further consolidation, creating a long-term advantage for the organised trade, and as a result, platinum.
In Q2, 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 due 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. This partly offset declines in generic products sales and resulted in 6% YoY growth in PGI partner retail sales in the first half of 2021.
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.
With the pandemic ongoing and 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.