Jewelery News

How Engagement Rings Explain What’s Happening in the Economy

As many households watch their savings dwindle and worry about their job security, they may be less willing to spend on big-ticket items like fancy diamond rings and bespoke wedding dresses.

David’s Bridal, the wedding dress retailer, suggested in a bankruptcy filing this year that some brides had become increasingly budget-conscious.

An “increasing number of brides are opting for less-traditional wedding attire, including thrift wedding dresses,” James Marcum, the company’s chief executive, said in a court filing.

Like much of the economy, the wedding industry has shown signs of a split, as higher earners find that they are able to reach into their savings and keep spending, and lower-income families that spend a bigger share of their earnings on necessities like food begin to crack under the weight of inflation.

LVMH, the luxury retail group that owns jewelers including Tiffany, reported continued growth in early 2023, including solid sales of jewelry.

“Everybody was expecting 2023 to be a horrendous year for luxury in the US,” Jean-Jacques Guiony, LVMH’s chief financial officer, told investors in April, explaining that a collapse had not materialized. “It’s normalizing, but it’s not bad, either.”

But at more mass-market brands like Kay and Zales, shoppers may be starting to pull back.

“We began to see softening at higher price points, which previously had been relatively insulated, and lower price points remained under pressure,” Joan Hilson, Signet’s finance chief, said during Thursday’s call.

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