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Facts, Figures, Fallacies and the Future of the jewellery industry

The most comprehensive study of the Australian jewellery industry ever undertaken was published in January.

The 2024 State of the Industry Report follows a similar study in 2010 and has revealed some interesting results, and subsequent addendums have documented further fascinating insights.

Published with the tagline: Facts, Figures, Fallacies and the Future, the report uncovered many things previously unknown to the industry.

  • The number of jewellery stores in Australia fell from 4,225 in 2010 to 3,500 by December 2023.
  • However, the 17 per cent per cent decline (724 stores) included jewellery businesses that were no longer classified as “stores” due to the evolving definitions of the industry. 
  • Considering the reclassification of some businesses, the net decline in jewellery stores over the past 13 years was closer to 500.
  • This figure should not be surprising, given the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-22) on small businesses in Australia. 
  • Surprisingly, 33 per cent of independent jewellery retailers report that their business is more profitable today than before the pandemic.
  • Australia’s jewellery buying groups - Nationwide Jewellers, Showcase Jewellers, and the Independent Jewellers Collective - have become more critical to the industry over the past decade. They have a combined membership of more than 500 and represent more than 700 independent retailers.
  • A survey of more than 200 independent jewellers (around 10 per cent of the market) unearthed many fascinating insights.
  • Among them was the fact that more than 43 per cent of respondents believe membership to a buying group offers greater benefits than membership to the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA).
  • Interestingly, even though JAA members were overrepresented in the survey, fewer than 10 per cent preferred their own industry association!
  • The same survey found that 45 per cent of respondents intend to retire or sell their business in the next five years.
  • The fine jewellery chain stores fared well over the past decade. With 278 stores, Prouds remains in a class of its own, followed by Michael Hill International (141 stores) and Pandora (129 stores).
  • However, some consolidation will be on the horizon as the 'big fish' look for new customers via brand differentiation. This was demonstrated over the past 12 months, as Michael Hill International acquired the smaller Melbourne-based jewellery chain Bevilles Jewellers.
  • While fine jewellery chains did well, the same cannot be said for the fashion jewellery chain cousins.
  • This category effectively experienced ‘destruction’ over the past decade, which has not stopped. That is, seven chains in 2010 accounting for the 343 stores no longer exist, with the loss of Diva particularly dramatic.
  • With 175 stores, Lovisa maintains a commanding hold (66 per cent) over the fashion jewellery market. This may increase soon following the collapse of Colette by Colette Hayman. 
  • The study also uncovered the fact that 30 per cent of jewellery retailers do not own or operate a website. A small number of retailers use Facebook or Instagram as a primary digital point of contact. 
  • Over the past decade, the number of brand-only watch and jewellery stores in Australia has increased by more than 180 per cent. 
  • Unsurprisingly, Swarovski, Secrets Shhh, and Tiffany & Co. are market leaders in this area. Regarding watches, its Michael Kors, TAG Heuer, and Fossil. 
  • Despite many industry figures hammering home the importance of provenance in recent years, survey results suggest diamond jewellery consumers are not interested. 
  • Lab-created diamond jewellery has become an essential part of business for around 40 per cent of jewellery retailers surveyed.

 


 

AT A GLANCE
Australian Jewellery
Industry Landscape

» Click to download PDF of Infograph Map

 


 


'2024 State of the Industry Report' Contents » 

To better understand the findings of the State of the Industry Report, it's important to be aware of the changes to the industry and how they affect the methodology.

The results are in and you will be surprised. How has the retail jewellery market fared over the past decade? How does it compare to other areas of the jewellery industry?

The fine jewellery chains have performed well over the past decade; however, consolidation could be on the horizon as the 'big fish' look for new customers via retail brand differentiation.

The past 10 years have been a rollercoaster ride for fashion jewellery chains, defined by rapid expansions and dramatic collapses. That said, the carnage continues in 2024. Is anyone safe?

The nature of buying groups has changed significantly in the past decade and there's an important question to be answered. Can Australia support four buying groups?

The most significant change over the past decade has been the expansion of the big international watch and jewellery brands as they take control of their public perception via a vertical integration market model.

No market is immune to change and no one escapes death. It’s time to reflect on the 'comings and goings' of the Australian jewellery industry over the past 13 years.

Australia’s shopping centres are a towering figure in the retail sector and fine and fashion jewellery stores have played an integral part in their speciality store ‘mix’.

As trends emerged and consumer shopping habits changed, so too has retailing.
The COVID pandemic probably hastened the move towards specialist jewellers, those that do not require a storefront.

Over the past decade, Queensland's number of jewellery stores decreased dramatically more than any other state. Why? The answers are intriguing.

If you had to guess, how many of Australia's independent jewellery retailers don't have a website? Would you say 100, 200, or even 300? How about 400, 500, or 600?

What do jewellery retailers and suppliers have to say about the past, present, and the future? A survey of retailers and suppliers revealed fascinating results.

It's been a brutal decade for the Jewellers Association of Australia and much of the damage has been self-inflicted. Worse, the JAA's missteps don't seem to end.

As membership continues to fall, the JAA is increasingly seen as a club of like-minded people rather than a peak industry body.

The structure of the JAA is unique, which causes complexity in measuring its success. To look to the future, one must recognise the success and failures of the past.

Proof of origin is a hot topic in the international jewellery industry. Conventional wisdom says it's an important issue, but in this digital era it's also important to challenge tradition.

Change is inevitable; however, progress is optional. How you manage your store today is probably quite different to 10 years ago. How can your business benefit from upcoming changes in the jewellery industry?

 

 

READ FULL REPORT

 


















(c) 2024 Befindan Media