Retail industry bodies, the National Retail Association (NRA) and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), have predicted that sales during the Christmas trading period will top last year’s figures.
According to the NRA, consumers were poised to spend $46.5 billion over the pre-Christmas and Boxing Day trade period – specified as the time between the final two weeks of November and New Year’s Eve. This is a 4 per cent increase compared to results recorded in 2015.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb told Jeweller the estimates were promising and reflected the fact that retail sales had steadily improved following a “slow” first half of the year.
In addition, she noted that the jewellery and watch industry was one sector where consumer spending was expected to be particularly high.
“The footwear and personal accessories category – that encompasses jewellery and watches – has been performing more strongly in the lead-up to Christmas than it did at the corresponding period last year,” Lamb said.
“We anticipate the jewellery sector to benefit greatly from what is expected to be a record period of spending for retail during the busiest trading period of the year.”
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman explained that spending in the footwear and personal accessories category increased 4.24 per cent in August and 5.81 per cent in September, which would bode well for solid Christmas trading.
He stated the ARA’s forecast, prepared in conjunction with Roy Morgan Research, projected consumers would spend more than $48.1 billion between 15 November and 24 December 2016.
Zimmerman said this 2.8 per cent year-on-year increase was “positive”, although not as strong as in previous years.
He added jewellery purchases were typically made towards the end of the Christmas trading period, suggesting that jewellers would benefit from Christmas Day falling on a Sunday.
“Husbands don’t know what to buy for wives, males don’t know what to buy female girlfriends etc and so it tends to be that very last minute purchase,” Zimmerman commented.
“As Christmas this year falls on a Sunday, there’s a long week of trading going into it. You have got a very strong trading period coming up at the very end although you don’t have as much in the beginning of December.”
Buying group support
Australia’s buying groups have maintained tradition by preparing a range of support and marketing material to help members ramp up Christmas sales.
Nationwide Jewellers, for example, announced a number of initiatives this year, including a tailored Christmas catalogue whereby members were able to select supplier and/or brand pages most suited to their store.
Nationwide managing director Colin Pocklington said other support provided ranged from POS material; access to a social media library featuring Christmas-themed content and events; six-month interest-free finance enabling members to acquire stock for the festive period; and making promotional activity suggestions to entice lay-by and repair customers to come in and collect their goods.
Showcase Jewellers is also offering numerous resources to assist with increasing Christmas sales. Among the tools available are two Christmas catalogues consisting of November and December product releases.
According to Showcase marketing manager Antonia Kratsas, the brochures not only offer a selection of products with various price-points but also advertise the group’s giveaway promotions.
She explained that participating retailers would give one lucky customer a diamond ring valued at $1,200. In addition, there is a national prize draw in which customers that spend $99 or more at participating stores will have the chance to win one of three $5,000 holiday vouchers.
Other initiatives include a customisable watch flyer, an advertisement that can be used across TV, cinema, social media and in-store as well as access to a digital strategy and staff training.
Jewellery supplier promotions
Suppliers are getting in on the act by helping retailers to make the most of this important trading period. A host of promotions and special items are listed below.
Alex and Ani has developed a Christmas collection including snowman, gingerbread man and candy cane bangles. House of Brands distributes Alex and Ani in Australia and New Zealand.
Fabuleux Vous has organised a Christmas promotion whereby retailers who purchase either the Fae or Eleta collection will receive a black jewellery box and a USB stick.
A special price deal for a white button freshwater pearl sterling silver jewellery set featuring cubic zirconia is available from Ikecho Pearls. The three-piece set includes stud earrings, pendant and ring. A 19 cm sterling silver white drop freshwater pearl bangle is also part of a special Christmas offer. Contact Ikecho Pearls for more information.
The supplier will give away six pairs of snowflake studs to jewellers that re-order product valued at a specified amount. The earrings are said to make an ideal gift with purchase or stand-alone festive gift. Retailers should hurry if they would like to take this offer as it ends tomorrow, 30 November, or until stocks last. Contact Kagi for more information.
Consumers that spend more than $150 on Najo product will receive a complimentary engraveable sterling silver ‘Aura Bangle’ valued at $129. The gift with purchase comes in a suede pouch, with a strut card and social media imagery is also provided.
Jewellers that spend a specified amount in a single transaction with Palloys will receive a My Dream ring mount for free. The ring mount is made from 18-carat white gold and is available up to a maximum finger size of Z and stone size up to two carats. This offer ends on 23 December. Contact the supplier for more information.
The supplier is offering retailers a 25 per cent discount on all 9-carat, 14-carat and 18-carat yellow or rolled gold findings, including pendant settings (as pictured), butterflies, pearl drops and bails. The special is available until 16 December.
Consumers that spend $199 on any Thomas Sabo product will receive a Charm Club diamond bracelet for free. The promotion is available until 18 December or while stocks last. Thomas Sabo is distributed locally by Duraflex Group Australia.
The supplier is running a retailer promotion on its Italian sterling silver chains until 22 December. Customers will receive special discounts based on the value of a purchase. Contact Twin Plaza Metals for more information.
Christmas offers galore for jewellery retailers
Aussies expected to spend big at Christmas