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Platinum as a Value Generator in Driving Sustainable Business for Brands Amid Disruptions

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The high performance of platinum as a metal and the emotional connections it builds with consumers make it an optimal choice for differentiation within the fine jewellery industry. Platinum Guild International (PGI) released the annual Platinum Jewellery Business Review (PJBR), highlighting platinum’s prestigious image among jewellery retailers and their customers. Platinum’s unique qualities continue to support consumer demand and further drive margins for the industry, particularly through branded collections that appeal to affluent customers.

“PGI is devoted to ensuring that platinum plays a distinctive role within the jewellery industry. To achieve this goal, PGI has been working with partners in integrating platinum into branding strategies to win customers’ hearts. Increasingly, building brands and stories around branded collections are instrumental to increasing consumers’ willingness to make a purchase. Increasingly retailers, manufacturers, and designers, are leveraging the unique qualities of platinum to drive their business” says Huw Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of PGI.

Through its unique properties and storied history, platinum is well placed today to drive margin growth in the upper market segment, which is projected to grow much faster than the total market. In the PJBR, jewellery brands from luxury houses to market-leading retail chains recognized the differentiating qualities of platinum, such as its strength, its naturally white colour, and its representation of significant meanings and emotions, as a central part of their offering and jewellery-making culture. Additionally, iconic brands are aware of the ultimate versatility of platinum in lending itself to some of the most intricate and finest designs.  

The prevalence of branding and the positive development of branded collections are reflected in platinum’s key market performances in 2021, where they served as a valuable tactic for generating value and sustainable business development in the post-pandemic era.

A Market-by-Market Platinum Jewellery Industry Review

Japan

Within the overall jewellery market, total retail sales in Japan recovered by 17.4% YoY in 2021. Platinum was the best performing white precious metal for jewellery, with retail sales reaching 568K ounces, an 11.6% YoY increase, and up 0.4% against 2019. This performance was largely thanks to strong sales of asset-type and bridal jewellery, along with a continued shift towards a preference for higher purity metals.

The strong recovery of Japan’s platinum jewellery industry was supported by the development of branded collections and consumer-segmented programmes steered by PGI. For instance, PGI’s Platinum Woman programme introduced more younger women to the category. Available from four of Japan’s leading jewellery brands, both online and in-store, this branded collection features a new generation of accessibly priced platinum jewellery pieces endorsed by a celebrity brand ambassador. In 2021, the programme saw sales value increase six times, with a growing number of partners and an increase to over 60 new designs.

In 2022, platinum jewellery retail sales are likely to enjoy a modest increase, as consumers seem to feel more comfortable visiting jewellery stores again after receiving booster shots. PGI is also committed to further developing its branded collections and other co-op programmes that further motivate Japanese retail industry leaders to commit to platinum.

China

In 2020, platinum led the Chinese jewellery market’s post-COVID recovery over gold, but gold caught up in 2021, taking significant market share from other categories. Platinum jewellery fabrication saw a 23% decline compared to a year ago.

PGI’s partners, which account for more than a third of total platinum retail sales in China, declined at a significantly reduced rate of 9% YoY, however, thanks to multipronged strategies, such as showing the value of branded collections created through innovative technologies in compelling designs. In 2021, both the quantity and quality of branded collections continued to grow across all partners from bridal to love-gifting, and for women, men and now unisex, creating ripple effects among retailers.

Additionally, to better reach Gen-Zs beyond traditional jewellery stores, PGI also collaborated with up-and-coming fashion designers on exclusive platinum jewellery collections in new retail channels, including high-end multi-label stores that showcase PGI’s strategic focus on this growing affluent segment as a target consumer base.

In 2022, despite weaker consumer sentiment amid the pandemic that continues to disrupt the market with distancing restrictions and lockdowns, platinum jewellery will continue to strive for profitability and differentiation in this crowded market.

India

India’s overall jewellery business bounced back in Q3 after the second wave of COVID-19 wiped out a key wedding season in Q2, with momentum continuing into the last quarter. The fourth quarter witnessed significant growth with a strong wedding season and a series of festivals that traditionally encourage jewellery buying, making platinum the fastest-growing category for PGI’s strategic partners in 2021, up by 30% YoY.​

The development of branded collections such as Platinum Days of Love, Evara and Men of Platinum, has enabled platinum-branded portfolios to address the unmet needs of younger consumers in India by fuelling their aspirations. The metal’s strong emotional and image-driven equity with individualistic brand narratives make it both significant and worth a premium price to these consumers, driving high margins and stock turns.

In 2022, PGI’s strategic partners are expected to maintain the strong growth momentum and see the platinum business returning to pre-pandemic levels.

(Credit: Evara, Men of Platinum, Platinum Days of Love)

US

The US reported outstanding retail results in 2021, with jewellery as the shining star. Within the industry, platinum jewellery had an even stronger year, delivering 15% YoY growth in retail sales. PGI’s strategic partners reported platinum unit sales growth ranging from 28 – 42%, results that not only surpassed 2020, but also exceeded pre-pandemic sales.

The development of branded collections has supported the sustainable growth of the platinum jewellery market. For instance, Le Vian reported a 95% increase in dollar sales YoY by continuing the expansion of platinum’s presence beyond high-end jewellery into their main collections, increasing the number of SKUs at Jared’s, Macy’s and hundreds of independent retailers. Platinum Born, a platinum-only brand, also had an exceptional year, expanding distribution into Neiman Marcus, while adding new products to its line.

 

Going from strength to strength, the outlook for jewellery sales in the US remains positive in 2022, with PGI and its retailers there anticipating a modest but continuing level of platinum sales growth.

By integrating a resonating branding strategy and applying innovative designs and technologies in product offerings on top of its inherent value, platinum provides a unique combination of rational and emotional business drivers, and presents the jewellery industry with an irresistible business opportunity to unlock its full potential.


(Credit: Platinum Born)

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