The Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) list of North American jewelry companies remained relatively stable in the first quarter of 2021, a surprising turnaround after more than a decade of steep declines.
JBT’s total enrollment in the first quarter of 2021 was 25,413, down 1.5% from the previous year. To compare this figure to previous years, in 2020 JBT registrations fell 2.1% and in 2019 they fell 3.1%.
The group’s count includes 19,236 retailers, 3,693 wholesalers and 2,484 manufacturers.
JBT President Erich Jacobs said he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the numbers.
“I thought we would start to see more closures,” he says. “There were a lot of things that happened during the COVID-19 crisis that kind of left people side by side, all of the [Paycheck Protection Program] loans to owners and suppliers being more lenient.
“If you had asked me a year ago what the jewelry industry would look like at that time, I would have given you a different answer. The jewelry industry has had a good year overall, with the exception of non-online stores.
He notes that there may have been retailers who quietly closed their doors and whose JBT was unable to record closings. He also sees a possible upheaval in the next year or so as many jewelers may have postponed the closure as a pandemic is not an ideal setting for a clearance sale. He believes consumers’ money could also be redirected to travel.
“In the future, the company will be motivated by, what are the travel trends? ” he says. “You had $ 11 billion a week that wasn’t supposed to be spent on travel. Some of it will end up on people’s fingers.
But he notes that there has been an important to augment consumer savings, which could offset some of the variation in spending.
JBT recorded 148 jewelery business ceases in the first quarter of 2021, down 51% from the first quarter of 2020. This number breaks down to 121 retailers, 12 wholesalers and 15 manufacturers. All but four of these interruptions were in the United States; the rest were in Canada.
The JBT uses interruptions as a catch-all term for companies that have gone out of business, merged or consolidated, or filed for bankruptcy.
JBT also registered 35 new companies entering the industry — 30 retailers, 4 wholesalers and 1 manufacturer. This number was also down, from 50 the year before. All of these new companies, except two, were in the United States.
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