Despite storms and snowy weather plaguing the United States in the period leading up to Valentine’s Day in 2014, American jewelry companies generally reported encouraging levels of retail sales for this significant day in the diamond jewelry calendar. So what can be expected for diamond sales on Valentine’s Day in 2015?

Valentine’s Day Jewelry Sales on the Increase

Despite a challenging financial situation for the past few years, Valentine’s Day jewelry sales have been on the rise in recent years. In 2010, IBIS World ranked jewelry sales as $1,383.8 million out of a total sales level of $18,607.5 million. This increased to $1,507.4 million in 2011 out of total sales of $19,268.8 million, and $1,580.9 million out of a total of $20,165.2 million in 2012. In 2013, IBIS World reported jewelry sales as $1,631.5 million out of total sales of $20,840.1 million, and forecasted 2014 jewelry sales as $1.7 billion out of total sales of $21,167.8 million. These figures accounted for a 4.2 percent increase between 2013 and 2014, surpassing the expected increase of 3.7 percent for total sales across all categories, and only exceeded by the higher sales growth of the ‘romantic getaways’ category.

According to the latest 2014 end of year sales figures from the NRF, confident consumers boosted overall holiday retail sales to their highest level since 2011, and such figures bode well for the February 14th holiday too. Total holiday retail sales, which include November and December sales, increased 4 percent to $616.1 billion. While the NRF haven’t yet released their Valentine’s Day forecast, they predicted that just under 20 percent of US gift buying consumers would buy jewelry last year to mark February 14th. However, the NRF also found that the number of people celebrating the Valentine’s Day holiday in 2014 went down to 54 percent from 60 percent, thus negatively impacting the sales across all product categories, including jewelry, during this period.

Marriage and Valentine’s Day

According to US Census figures, an estimated 10 percent of marriage proposals take place on Valentine’s Day. While the percentage of married couples in the United States has declined over the past decade, a lower marriage rate does not necessarily dampen Valentine’s Day sales, explains IBIS World.

According to a study conducted by Big Research, unmarried couples and singles spend $20 to $30 more on average for their significant other than married couples on Valentine’s Day. “With the aim of impressing the person they are pursuing, singles have a greater incentive to spend lavishly on their dates,” explains IBIS World.

How Much is Being Spent on Jewelry for Valentine’s Day?
According to figures from monthly consumers surveys, the average planned spend for jewelry increased from $139.14 in 2010 to $162.03 in 2014 marking a steady increase during this four year period.

The same surveys showed that the number of consumers planning to make purchases in jewelry stores increased from 9 percent in 2010, rising to 11.2 percent in 2013 though falling to 10 percent in 2014, despite an overall higher average level of planned spending on jewelry.

Who is Doing the Buying?
Figures from the 2014 monthly consumer survey found that an average of 18.9 percent of adults planned to buy jewelry on Valentine’s Day. This figure averages from a 29.1 percent of men and a predictably much lower level of women at 9.2 percent. Variations also occurred according to earnings levels. More people earning over $50,000 planned to buy jewelry than those earning under that figure.

There were also variations according to the age groups of consumers as well as their geographical location. The South of the United States had the highest level of consumers planning to buy jewelry, while the Midwest featured the lowest rates.

As for age groups, the 18-34 year old groups featured more consumers planning to buy jewelry (in the high 20 percentage points) while just under 10 percent of older consumers (over 65+) planned Valentine’s Day jewelry purchases.

However, the highest levels planned to spend on jewelry purchases came from the 25-34 year old age group with an average planned spend of $210.25, which was significantly higher than the planned spending on jewelry from any other age group.

How do Consumers Make Purchases?
While February 14th is regarded as a multi-channel sales period, with consumers making purchases in department stores, specialty stores, and even discount stores, predictably, online sales are making a significant impact on Valentine’s Day sales.

Information on diamond jewelry items, and even details of contact information and store hours where relevant should all be easily accessible on mobile devices. In 2014, the NRF expected that a third of shoppers would use their mobile phone to research products and compare prices, while just under half of tablet owners would research and compare prices on their device, with a third making purchases from the device itself.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Sales
While retailers began sending out marketing emails themed for Valentine’s Day as soon as the Super Bowl was over in 2013, Adobe research found that those shopping for jewelry (and chocolates) tended to delay their purchases until the last possible moment. In fact, the NRF last year predicted that the vast majority of jewelry and gift sales would take place in the four day period before February 14th. These last minute sales mean that the issue of shipping out goods is serious business and retailers cannot afford to fail in this area as has been known to happen during the end of year sales.

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