U.S. jewelry and watch sales slowed in March

New York—Sales of watches and jewelry in the United States slowed in March, according to government data.

Sales in the category rose nearly 9% year over year, according to preliminary data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), compared with growth of 28% in February.

While still positive, the numbers are a far cry from March 2021, when watch and jewelry sales more than doubled, rising 103% year-on-year.

Full-year watch and jewelry sales are expected to increase, but not as much as last year.

Government data on what panelists said during a session at the recently concluded American Gem Society conclave – that jewelry sales appear to be declining from their pandemic peak, a trend panelists attributed to a return to spending on travel and experiences.

In 2021, dubbed by industry analyst Edahn Golan “the year of jewelry,” the category’s annual sales reached approximately $115.29 billion, a 51% year-over-year increase. other, according to preliminary data from the BEA.

In 2022, from March, full-year watch and jewelry sales are expected to reach approximately $125.53 billion, an increase of approximately 9% year-over-year.

Year-over-year growth in jewelry and watch sales peaked last April, up 218%, more than tripling from April 2020, a month after the COVID-19 shutdowns began. 19.

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Overall, U.S. retail sales in March followed a similar trajectory of moderate growth, up 0.5% month-on-month, but down from a 0.0% rise. .8% in February.

Consumers continued to struggle with rising prices.

Prices hit a four-decade high in March, driven by rising food and energy costs, coupled with strong consumer demand and supply chain constraints.

The Consumer Price Index, which measures the average price change over time that consumers will pay for a basket of goods and services, rose 1.2% month-over-month in March .

It rose 8.5% year-over-year, the biggest 12-month increase since December 1981.

In an effort to fight inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point last week, its largest interest rate hike in more than two decades.

Floyd N. Morlan