The US jewelry and watch market represents a massive source of revenue, with total sales from 2018 coming in at nearly $83 billion, an average of $647 per household. Understanding how Americans buy jewelry, their spending habits, and the specific demographics of jewelry buyers is essential to succeeding in this highly competitive marketplace.
What Americans Are Buying
When it comes to jewelry, stunning and timeless diamonds are responsible for over half of total sales. These sales continue to increase year over year. While the 2008 recession saw a drop in the market, there has been a strong growth trend ever since.
Growth has been consistent but not equally distributed among different sectors of the jewelry and watch market. The sale of non-diamond jewelry and watches has increased more quickly than diamond sales, meaning diamonds now have a slightly diminished market share.
Watch and jewelry sales are reported as a single category, but jewelry makes up the majority of sales. Less than a fifth of total sales are attributed to watches. Approximately 10% of US sales are through online shopping, which might sound low but is typical for luxury items.
Demographics of Jewelry Buyers in the USA
It’s clear that diamond jewelry is the preferred choice of Americans within this category, but who is actually doing the shopping? The demographics of jewelry buyers consist of many distinct groups, and the largest among them are those aged 55 to 64. This group spends nearly double the overall average per household annually.
This is unsurprising, given that 55 to 64 is also the top bracket for gross income. Income itself strongly affects jewelry buying, with households earning $200,000 or more nearly tripling the average annual expenditure. Those with master’s and doctorate degrees see a smaller increase of around 50%, again possibly due to the correlation between income and higher education.
One less intuitive finding is that singles who live alone spend 2.6 times the average on jewelry. We can also note that expenditure doesn’t correlate linearly with income. For example, those in the $30-40,000 per year bracket spend less than those who earn under $15,000 per year. In terms of age demographics of jewelry buyers, those aged 35-44 spent the least, likely due to major expenses like raising children and buying houses.