After a fantastic two-year run, jewelry and diamond sales have started to cool down. Although jewelry sales always tend to ease in June and July, this cyclical behavior had an additional twist this year.
This is not a trend – at least not yet. Since the COVID outbreak in February 2020, consumer demand had been veering off the beaten path. During the first half of 2022, sales were generally higher year over year.
However, examining this on a monthly basis shows that consumer demand tapered off over time, until it fell below 2021’s levels.
Jewelry Market Keeps Cooling in July, High-End Soared
According to the latest data collected by Tenoris, July jewelry sales were characterized by an overall year-over-year (YoY) decline in sales, including in bridal jewelry.
The large exception was high-end jewelry, which posted handsome gains, as did fashion rings.
The total value of finished jewelry sold in July was down 6.6%, and unit sales fell 13.5% from July 2021. Year-to-date retail value rose 9.1% YoY, while unit sales declined 3.9%.
The strength of the market remains at the high end, where sold items $50,000 to $100,000 posted an 11.6% increase in value and a 12.2% increase in units. Bracelets and earrings drove the bulk of these gains.
Bridal continued to show drops from 2021’s outstanding performance, with value down 15.6% and units down 14%. Diamond bridal underperformed the category with value down 18.4% and units down 19%.
Lab-grown diamond (LGD)-set bridal, however, witnessed an 81.7% rise in value, and it represented 8% by value and 6.9% by units sold in July.
Fashion rings $5,000 and up showed robust performance, as both value and unit sales increased during the month. Popular gemstones included diamonds and sapphires.
“The high end of the jewelry market continues to drive business and growth,” according to Tenoris Co-Managing Partner Chris Casey.
Diamond Demand Flat, Prices Cool, LG Grabs Market Share
Polished diamond prices continued to soften in July, as retailers’ sales declined. As a response, retailers’ loose diamond purchases were scaled back dramatically.
Overall, polished diamond retail prices declined 3% month over month. However, they were 9% above their prices in July 2021.
The deepest declines were seen in narrow size ranges such as 2.50-2.74 carats and 1.50-1.59 carats. Retail prices of 1-carat rounds rose 0.5%.
Compared to June of this year, sales were practically flat (+0.2%), yet retail sales fell nearly 12% year over year as unit sales declined 12.7% compared to July 2021.
The drop in sales led specialty retailers to limit purchases as much as possible. Diamond purchases by retailers crashed, with unit purchases sinking 64% on a month-over-month basis.
Despite that, wholesale purchase prices were stable.
For LG, average retail and wholesale purchase prices continued to slide overall. The declines were compared both to June of this year and year over year.
At the same time, LG sales are continuing to win market share, up to a third of loose diamond sales by value in July.
“Lab-grown continues to be a growth market despite and, at times, because of LG’s declining prices,” said Tenoris Co-Managing Partner Edahn Golan.
Are you interested in how our trends break down on a jewelry item by item basis or do you need detailed lab-grown data? Would this data be invaluable in your decision making? We can answer these and many other questions related to the diamond and jewelry economy.
For more details on the specific data behind these trends, please contact us.