Precious metals markets work paradoxically, since gold, platinum, silver and others work both as consumer items and stores of value, ensuring a market in both good times and bad.
Seeking to boost demand for platinum jewellery worldwide, Platinum Guild International (PGI) reports that the Platinum Jewellery Business Review (PJBR) for the third quarter showed that, despite global geopolitical and economic challenges and the dampening effect of COVID-19, platinum has forged upswings in key markets.
“PGI’s mission to boost the desirability of platinum and drive sales for our partners is succeeding, despite the economic challenges of 2022, and the two pandemic-affected years preceding it,” said Huw Daniel, CEO of PGI. “We are delighted to see the strategic programmes leveraging platinum’s unique qualities have delivered strong results, presenting platinum as a key value generator for our partners during the post-pandemic recovery and the key festive and shopping season.”
The surge of COVID-19 cases in Mainland China in September stymied the summer recovery of the jewellery sector, leading to a decline of 16% year-on-year in retail partner sales in the third quarter of 2022. Facing headwinds, innovation in platinum jewellery design and technology continued to improve the product offering to consumers, such as leading manufacturers launching autumn-winter products and introducing new products with CNC technology.
PGI initiatives with partners also helped to drive local demand. For example, a celebrity campaign from one strategic partner garnered a 60% year-on-year boost in sales, and a promotion from a franchise retailer in the mainland’s northeast recorded a 40% year on year sales increase for its Pt Moment® brand. The second part of 2022 Booster, an integrated activation campaign that combines art and local culture to help retail sales recover, buoyed business in Shandong, Henan and Hebei, leading to more than 11,000 pieces of platinum jewellery sold during the event period in September.
India surges ahead
In India, there was a 35% year-on-year increase in platinum jewellery sales, powered by festive shopping and targeted campaigns and promotions. Specifically, the increased shop footfall and the return of the Platinum Buyer Seller Meet 2022 after a two-year absence helped drive sales during the wedding and festival season, which in turn re-energised platinum jewellery fabrication, as retailers increased their stocks to meet higher demand.
PGI’s strategy of raising awareness of platinum brands through training and targeted marketing campaigns, such as the one with the Indian ace cricketer KL Rahul for the brand Men for Platinum, has continued to reap dividends for retailers. These marketing efforts strengthened the link between platinum’s intrinsic qualities and consumers’ desire for morale-boosting brilliance and reassuring durability in uncertain times.
In the United States, retail sales remained resilient in the third quarter, with year-on-year growth tempered by highs reached in the third quarter of last year. Platinum jewellery sales experienced a modest decline in consumption against a high base, but are still above 2019 levels and on track for a strong finish this year. PGI USA business development grant partners saw double-digit increases in platinum sales on the back of their focus on platinum product development, building inventory and training for sales associates. Such solid performance has generated new interest from more jewellers that do not have a significant presence of platinum in their merchandise mix.
In addition to promotional activities, PGI continued to improve training through education incentives, such as platinum workshops at the Rhode Island School of Design and courses at Miami Jewelry School.
Japan continues to rise
In Japan, following a six-consecutive-quarter year-on-year rise in unit sales, platinum shone with a third-quarter sales increase of 4.7% year-on-year. Along with high-purity jewellery, Japan enjoyed robust growth, as the middle classes returned to shopping malls and department stores in the absence of COVID-19 controls.
Platinum jewellery counters in department stores, in particular, enjoyed a sales surge; product-wise, growth was spearheaded by high-quality Kihei chains and necklaces-pendants and men’s jewellery. In addition, the continuing popularity of the Platinum Woman brand saw retail partners achieve a solid sales increase and roll out new products in November. Given the positive momentum in the third quarter, the sentiment for the Christmas shopping season remains very positive.
Readers can find out much more about platinum – along with gold, silver, diamonds and more – at the HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show and HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show held 1-5 March next year in-person at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre as well as online.