Allchin discusses industry stats at Houlden meet

BAO chief exec talks 2012 industry figures and opportunity in 2013.

More than 80 Houlden members were given the opportunity to compare the performance of their businesses to national statistics presented by Birmingham Assay Office chief executive Michael Allchin, at the group’s spring buying meeting yesterday.

Overall sales of jewellery and watches were broadly unchanged from 2011 to 2012, with precious jewellery increasing buy just 0.2% to £3.2 billion for the year, while watches rose by 1.2% to £1.01 billion, Allchin said, quoting figures from Mintel.

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Concealed within the headline figures was another year of declining numbers of gold and silver items hallmarked, but overall values holding up due to the ongoing strength of precious metal prices. “The number of gold hallmarks has declined from 25 million in 2002 to four million in 2012, but the value of gold hallmarked has remained remarkably stable,” said Allchin.

There was also a 60% rise in the number of customers using Birmingham Assay Office hallmarking, suggesting that there is a groundswell of new designers using precious metals. This rise may also reflect the boom in hallmarking of Asian gold following 2012 initiatives to ensure Asian gold jewellery is being hallmarked legally and correctly for sale in the UK.

Allchin’s presentation, entitled Optimism and Opportunity, pointed to a number of positive developments for jewellery and watch retailers including:

• Watches of Switzerland sales rising 11% year on year in the 8 weeks to January 2013.
• Goldsmiths sales rising 8% in the same 8 week period.
• The emergence of an estimated £100 million market for used for pre-owned watches last year.




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