After a decade of continuous growth, both costume and fine jewellery recorded significant sales declines in 2020, as lockdowns, economic constraints, and other COVID-19-related effects and restrictions reduced demand for jewellery. However, the category proved more resilient throughout the pandemic than others within personal accessories, as many consumers continued to find use for statement, especially fine jewellery products on video calls and on socially distant outings and activities throughout 2020 and into 2021.
With the majority of both costume and fine jewellery sales having occurred through store-based retail channels including department stores, jewellery and watch, and apparel and footwear specialist retailers prior to the pandemic, many consumers found themselves either unable or unwilling to purchase their preferred Jewellery products and brands in-stores throughout much of 2020 and the first half of 2021 amid COVID-19 restrictions, which varied across states. As a result, e-commerce experienced a dramatic boost in its share of both fine and costume jewellery sales in 2020.
While still the leading player in terms of both value sales and market share, Tiffany & Co saw both fall dramatically in 2020, as the brand was particularly affected by the postponement of engagements and weddings amid the closure of churches and bans on large gatherings as a result of the pandemic. Partially as a result, luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton sought to back out of its USD16.
While travel restrictions, store closures and the postponements or cancellations of large, in-person events like weddings and social galas significantly reduced sales of fine and costume jewellery in 2020, both categories are expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels in both value and volume terms over the forecast period as the pandemic resides. With domestic travel and participation in local events and activities already nearing pre-pandemic levels in most states by mid-2021, 2021 and 2022 will deliver the strongest growth over the forecast period, with the market expected to recover to pre-pandemic sales levels by 2023, thanks in large part to the resumption of international travel.
Offering value for money, the opportunity to find unique pieces, and environmental merits, the resale market has been growing in popularity across personal accessories categories, including fine and costume jewellery, in recent years. While thrift stores, vintage shops and other store-based resale channels faced many of the same challenges as store-based, primary market jewellery retailers throughout 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the pandemic brought about increased interest in resale as consumers not only re-assessed their spending priorities, but also had additional time to clean out their jewellery boxes and browse online resale marketplaces such as Depop, ThredUp, and Poshmark.
As many consumers’ only available, or otherwise vastly preferred, sales channel for fine and costume jewellery throughout much of 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19-related restrictions, dramatic growth in the category’s e-commerce penetration came as many consumers became increasingly comfortable shopping for and purchasing high-value items entirely online, with many doing so for the first time. As a result, jewellery brands and retailers have overhauled investments in innovative ways to merchandise their products for sale on line, such as launching virtual try-on tools and hosting livestream shopping events.
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