Sterling Overview

April 1998

Precious Metals:Data & Statistics

Sterling Overview

This month's cover story on silver provides the perfect opportunity to look at some statistical information about sterling silver jewelry, giftware and flatware sales by jewelers and non-jeweler competitors.

Jewelry Market
Sales totaled $2.1 billion in 1996 (most recent figures available), a 14% increase over 1995, says the Silver Information Center, New York, NY. The number of pieces grew 7% to 52.5 million.

Women comprise the largest segment of silver shoppers: 60% of them buy it for themselves, 30% buy it for others, most often for Christmas/Hanukkah, birthdays or graduations.

Department stores accounted for 25% of all silver jewelry purchases in 1996, followed by jewelry stores (15%), mail order outlets (13%) and large variety stores (9%). About 90% of the purchases cost below $70; the average price was $40. Earrings were the most popular item (see top chart), followed by necklaces and rings.

Giftware/Flatware Market
Giftware and flatware sales totaled $485 million, up 15%. The middle chart shows flatware sales alone accounted for $220 million (up 10%); giftware totaled $265 million (up 20%).

A closer look at the giftware category shows tabletop items and gifts for the home (such as picture frames, hollowware, candleholders and desk accessories) generated 19% of the total; the ever-growing baby product category accounted for 16%.

Over half of all sterling silver giftware purchases were made on sale items. Forty percent cost over $40; the average price per gift was $55.

Counting all categories (jewelry, giftware and flatware), jewelers accounted for a healthy 20% of silver sales in 1996, trailing only department stores (see bottom chart).



Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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