The Company of Master Jewellers annual Christmas trading survey has revealed its members experienced a mixed December.
As per the trend over the last few years, consumers were in no rush to start shopping on the high street, with the festive sales surge not taking place until the week leading up to December 25.
For some the last minute flurry managed to bolster business, with 41% of its independent jewellers reporting a rise in sales compared to December 2017, but 40% cited a dip.
The most popular sales among its members were products within the £100-£250 mark, with big ticket item (over £5K) sales down for 48% of retailers.
In terms of product, earrings led the way, followed by necklaces and rings in joint second, then bracelets and watches.
The survey also revealed a shift in consumer attitudes towards customer service and social media.
Despite consumers choosing to shop online first, and then heading to physical stores towards the end of the month, CMJ members recognised there was still a desire for personal service, particularly among the 30 to 60 age group.
This was supported by the fact that retailers who have an online shop reported just 3% of sales came from that channel.
CMJ chief executive officer, Terry Boot, remarks: “Personal service and trusted advice from a professional is still extremely valued by UK consumers. It not only mirrors the findings of our 2018 Retail Report, but also shows that there is still a great deal of support for the traditional high street store.
“It also demonstrates that the role of a website is shifting. While sales do still come through this channel, it’s crucial that it’s both a portal for information and a lead generation tool. When aligned with social media promotion, the facts speak for themselves given 42% of retailers cited social media as the most used form of promotion. This is compared with advertising at 31% and in-store events with 23%.”
Black Friday proved to be an opportunistic time for retailers, with 42% getting involved in external promotional campaigns, but only 38% noted that it impacted pre-Christmas sales.