Platinum Guild International’s (PGI’s) Platinum Jewellery Business Review (PJBR) Q4 2020 reports platinum has been instrumental in leading the overall jewellery industry recovery in 2020 across key markets – China, India, Japan and USA. The pandemic severely disrupted expected sales performance during 2020, however the industry moved fast to adapt its sales and marketing efforts in each market. Platinum’s uniquely differentiating qualities, potential for higher margins and ability to drive incremental sales and profits allowed it to be a value generator for jewellery retailers and manufacturers eager to reboot their businesses.
“The latest quarterly PJBR shows that platinum has played a leading role in the jewellery market’s recovery. Retailers and manufacturers have prioritised platinum in their merchandising selections, driven both by favourable metal pricing and a new generation of products better suited to today’s consumers, who more than ever are seeking jewellery of meaning for both gifting and self-purchase. The latest research indicates strong consumer appetite for fine jewellery purchases in 2021 which bodes well for continued growth into 2021,” says Huw Daniel, CEO of PGI.
China’s economy ended on a strong note in Q4, and continues to be the strongest market globally for jewellery industry growth. Platinum jewellery remains well-positioned following the launch of branded collections that demonstrate its strong emotional equity with new designs that are attractive to millennials and Gen-Zs. The branded collections continued to boost the platinum sales of retailers by up to double-digits in Q4. For instance in the second half of 2020, “Platinum Moment”, PGI’s flagship brand, launched a new collection that reflects the aspirations of millennial consumers, achieving double-digit growth in sell-in volume compared to the same period last year. Such strong demand is reflected in the increase of platinum jewellery fabrication by a remarkable 14% year-on-year in Q4.
Branded collections were well received by jewellers, often used to attract consumers back to stores while providing improved margins and faster product turn. An industry survey by PGI in Q4 reported 72% of retailers experiencing better margins with branded platinum collections and premium platinum products, while 69% of retailers reported faster turn and more frequent replenishment ordering. Wholesalers and retail chains leveraged seasonal ordering to promote platinum to retail clients and franchisees. One wholesaler’s promotion of the new products resulted in over 80 new retail stores selling platinum following a hiatus of several years.
PGI USA’s strategic partners reported continued recovery in their platinum business, finishing the year with a much smaller than expected shortfall overall, but impressive growth in a few key categories. Platinum unit sales showed a remarkable increase, registering 14% year-on-year growth in Q4, soaring in high-ticket categories, including diamond jewellery and bridal. Leading brands have started to prioritise platinum with significant success, and some retailers that previously worked primarily with gold began to promote platinum during the holiday season achieving double digits sales growth.
PGI’s 30 strategic retail partners reported 25% year-on-year growth in platinum sales in Q4, on the back of effective marketing efforts after the prolonged lockdown, taking advantage of pent-up demand during the festival season. The “Season of Hope” programme kickstarted the recovery, followed by campaigns for key platinum brands in India – “Platinum Days Of Love”, “Men of Platinum” and “Platinum Evara”, all of which amplified brand awareness for platinum. Conversion programmes at the store level helped close the loop as strategic retailers pushed platinum sales. The introduction of entry-level products for women’s self-purchase also helped drive sales conversion.
Platinum was the best performing white metal for jewellery in Japan in Q4. Platinum sales were supported by growth in bridal jewellery and asset-type jewellery. Sales in department stores and via non-store channels also posted robust growth compared with the 2019 level, as well as regional and provincial chains and independent retailers that were less affected by the pandemic than retailers in major metros. In addition to capitalising on asset-type jewellery and optimising sales via TV shopping, PGI launched “Platinum Woman”, a new platinum collection featured online and in three of Japan’s leading retailers. The campaign was headlined by Mikako Tabe, a celebrity hugely popular with Japan’s young females, offering an upbeat platinum message for the next generation of consumers.