Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bling Biz - The Year End Report

The industry news from IDEX
Online Shopping

2008 Online Holiday Shopping Sales Decline 3% to $25.5 Billion
(December 31, '08, 5:32 IDEX Online Staff Reporter)
Online retail spending during this year’s holiday season, between November 1st and December 23rd, declined 3 percent to $25.5 billion compared to the same period in 2007, according to comScore tracking analysis.

The company, which measures e-commerce, says this year is the first time since 2001 that there has been negative growth in the holiday season, which is attributable to the combination of having five fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and the “severe economic headwinds faced by consumers.”

Similarly, the fourth quarter of 2008 will mark the first full quarter to record negative growth since 2001, with e-commerce spending for the period of October 1 – December 28 down 4 percent to $36.8 billion.

Despite low retail sales, several top retailers registered growth in site traffic during December 1-24, compared to the same holiday period in 2007. Though eBay suffered a 4 percent drop in visitors, it remained the most visited retail site with 85.4 million visitors; Amazon sites had a 7 percent increase in site traffic totaling 76.2 million visitors.
Luxe Business

U.S. Luxury Sales Hard Hit in Holiday Season, MasterCard Finds
(December 28, '08, 9:30 Edahn Golan)
Luxury retail sales in the U.S. dropped 34.5 percent in the holiday season, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse. This figure includes jewelry sales. Total retail sales, excluding automobiles, fell by 8 percent in December through Christmas Eve, compared to last year.

Excluding gasoline sales, the fall in retail sales was 2.5 percent in November and 4 percent in December.

The National Retail Federation projected holiday sales to rise 2.2 percent this year to $470.4 billion. In November, IDEX Online Research analyst Ken Gassman forecasted annual jewelry sales to be flattish to down about 1 percent. When jewelry price inflation is removed, jewelry sales in terms of units will likely be down about 7-8 percent for the full year, according to Gassman.
The Sell side is certainly screwed...but the Buy side is looking good, especially with diamond prices coming back down to reasonable levels.
Anyone who has held off on making a diamond purchase will benefit in the upcoming year with a larger selection at lower prices.
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