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Valentine’s Day, February 14, one of the most important diamond jewelry shopping days of any calendar year, may see lower than hoped for sales this year in the world’s largest market, predominantly due to the Americans not receiving stimulus checks in time.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will still spend spend $21.8 billion for Valentine’s Day, but that will be down 20 percent from the record high recorded for Valentine’s Day 2020, which took place before the full onset of the COVID crisis. Yet despite the predicted drop, the NRF still expects the second highest Valentine’s Day in terms of expected spending, and it comes on the heels of a record-setting winter holiday season.

On average, shoppers spend $165 on gifts and celebrations with their loved ones for the February 14 holiday. About half of U.S. adults are expected to partake in festivities.

Sales of all traditional Valentine’s Day products are expected to be down this year, but the high-ticket jewelry category if forecast to be particularly hard hit, with the NRF predicting that U.S. jewelry sales will fall by almost 30 percent to $4.1 billion. Unsurprisingly, given the current lockdown restriction, restaurants are expected to worse, with revenues in that category predicted to plummet 40 percent.


According to NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual Valentine’s Day survey, with rising COVID-19 cases and continued restrictions on indoor dining across the country, many consumers are swapping a romantic evening out for an at-home meal or celebration. Just 24 percent say they will celebrate with an evening out this year, down from 34 percent last year and the lowest in the survey’s history.

Another 46 percent say they are actively avoiding in-person gatherings. This translates to $1.5 billion less in spending on an evening out this year.

Over the past decade, Valentine’s Day has grown into a holiday that’s not just about romantic love, but also an opportunity to celebrate all the important relationships in ones lives. Those between the ages of 25 and 44 are usually the most likely to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts for their children’s classes or for co-workers, says the NRF/ Prosper Insights & Analytics survey. But with many classes taking place virtually or in small groups, such gifts are likely to be less frequent.

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While overall participation in Valentine’s Day will be on par with previous years, the survey suggests that one group in particular might be deciding to sit the holiday out. Compared with last year, those between the ages of 18 and 24 are significantly less likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day. But, while fewer young consumers are celebrating the holiday, those who are seem committed to making the holiday even more special this year, raising their expected average spend from $109 to $184.

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Speaking to the Bloomberg news service, Gina Drosos, Chief Executive Officer of the United States largest jewelry retailer, Signet Jewelers, was upbeat about the approaching holiday.  “It’s one of our most important holidays of the year,” she said with five days to go. “We’re expecting to have a strong Valentine’s Day.”

Signet., the owner of Jared, Zales and Kay Jewelers, hoping that the services it built up over the past year, to compensate for less ins-store activity during the COVID crisis, will pay dividends this Valentine’s Day. Such services include virtual consultations and curbside pickup.

Drosos, like other executives in the jewelry sector, had hoped that the federal government’s much talked about coronavirus aid package would arrive in time, but the new Biden administration and the U.S. Congress are still debating the details.

“Hopefully we’ll see the stimulus checks come out mid-March,” Drosos said to Bloomberg. “We expect some benefit from that when they come out, but we won’t see it for Valentine’s Day.”