There’s been a lot of discussion in recent years about “the new normal,” and what life after the “Great Recession.” For several years, financial gadflies quoted dire statistics and predicted that for retailers of luxury goods, the new normal would be a very scary place indeed. However, this may not be the case.
Earlier this year (2014), TIFFANY & CO., arguably the largest and most prestigious luxury brand in the world, reported on its first-quarter earnings. A 13% increase in world sales and a net earnings increase to $126 million (up from $84 million) show a very strong market for TIFFANY’s brand of bling. This bodes well for jewelry makers and sellers worldwide.
Optimism is pervading the consumer psyche again, and TIFFANY & CO. is responding by opening additional shops to meet anticipated customer demand. While “trickle-down” may be a dubious economic theory, in retail, it’s a very real thing; if a luxury brand sees an upswing, smaller retailers of similar, less expensive items will likely see one too.
Aspirational consumerism—customers aspiring to the look and lifestyle connoted by luxury brands—trends upward when those luxury retailers surge. Enterprising jewelers, who watch for market shifts, can exploit the luxury brand’s popularity and increase their own sales as well. TIFFANY’s keys, for example, are still a noticeable fashion accessory. With innumerable comparable designs produced at more affordable prices, they are sold everywhere from Claire’s Boutique to Target.
They predict another year of growth, at a reasonable pace, for the coming year. Cuff bracelets, precious metals, natural gemstones, and commemorative jewelry are all trending upward. Another trend swinging in from the not-so-distant past is that wristwatches appear poised to come back as larger statement pieces.
The new normal looks poised for a make-over, and we like what we see