What Every Single Girl (and Boy) Has to Say About the Economy - Liberty

Sunday, November 26, 2023

What Every Single Girl (and Boy) Has to Say About the Economy

The epidemic, according to a renowned jeweler, may have stopped many from meeting their prospective spouses, which reduced the market for engagement rings. Shopping anxiety and inflation haven't helped. 

The chain stores Kay Jewelers and Zales are owned by Signet Jewelers, which has cut its sales projections for the year and blamed the decline in engagements on Covid lockdowns in 2020. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

The company said it cut sales of engagement rings this year because it failed to meet the needs of singles stuck at home during the lockdown. - Get engaged in 2020!

Virginia C. Drosos, CEO of Signet, which owns Kay Jewelers and Zales, told investors on Thursday, "As we predicted three years ago, the coronavirus has created a dating crisis. Engagement declined in the quarter because of the turmoil." Signet, America's largest jewelry retailer, saw sales fall after the company cut its sales and earnings forecasts for the year.

In some ways, engagement rings are a glorious microcosm of the American economy. The bridal jewelry business has been hit by the delayed impact of the pandemic, rapid inflation weighing on consumers, and heightened shopper tension.

Some of the volatility is purely due to the pandemic. Mass wedding cancellations during the lockdown in 2020 are expected to level off over the next few years as they recover and return to more typical patterns in late 2021 and 2022. The wedding-related activity appears to be showing early signs of a wedding slowdown, according to Signet. Related activities. Now he's in 2023, but I'm not sure if that's due to her 2020 dating drought or just the long-term trend of later marriage and fewer children. not sure if I will go back

what is clear? Wedding trends are also tied to wider and potentially longer-lasting economic implications. Stamp sales are declining not only because fewer people are kneeling, but because of rapid inflation and growing uncertainty about the direction of the economy, ring buyers are becoming more cautious. It's becoming It is also the cause of what is happening. It is also the cause of what is happening. Maybe it's because I'm cutting back on my spending.

Consumers face major challenges this year. Prices have risen about 15% over the past three years, according to the Personal Consumption Expenditure Index. Inflation has slowed in recent months, but many workers feel wage growth has lagged.

With many households running out of savings and worried about job security, they may be reluctant to spend on big-ticket items such as gorgeous diamond rings and custom-made wedding dresses.

Wedding dress retailer David's Bridal has suggested some brides have become budget-conscious after filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.

"More and more brides are opting for non-traditional wedding attire, including second-hand wedding dresses," CEO James Markham said in a court filing.

Like many other economies, the wedding industry is showing signs of fragmentation. While high-income earners can use their savings to continue spending, low-income earners are beginning to spend a greater share of their income on food and other necessities. Cracks under the weight of inflation.

Luxury retail group LVMH, which owns jewelers such as Tiffany & Co., reported continued growth in early 2023, including strong sales of jewelry.

LVMH's chief financial officer, Jean-Jacques Guiony, told investors in April that "everyone expected 2023 to be a terrible year for luxury goods in the United States," and bankruptcy never materialized. He said. . under. "It's normalizing, but not bad."

But at mass-market brands like Kay and Zales, shoppers may be pulling back.

“While we are beginning to see some softening in the relatively isolated upper echelon, the lower echelon continues to come under pressure,” Signet finance chief Joan Hilson said on a conference call Thursday. He said.

It predicts 500,000 more engagements from 2024 to 2026 than pre-pandemic trends, as dating delays due to lockdowns lead to matches. But analysts at Bank of America said lower spending on jewelry by "stressed consumers" "could offset some of the recoveries." there is

Wedding Report founder Shane McMurray is skeptical of taking a big gap year during an engagement. He expects weddings in 2023 to drop 20% from 2022 levels as trends return to normal. Lyman Stone, research director at consulting firm Demographic Intelligence, also agrees that the current wedding slump may not reflect a temporary decline, but a return to previous trends. under.

“2023 is going to be a sluggish year,” he said. "I think it's a bit of an exaggeration to blame the 2020 lockdowns for that."