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Holiday Forecast

"Diamond Jewelry Industry Hopeful That Consumers to Open Pocketbooks During Holiday Season"

Current forecasts are that sales in the crucial Christmas sales season, which is in full swing, will be stable at around the same as last year or maybe slightly higher. The American economy is showing increasing levels of strength with high job-creation numbers. In fact, the economic outlook is bright enough that the Federal Reserve Bank is set to raise interest rates in December for the first time in seven years.

U.S. consumers are shopping with more confidence in the light of a more secure jobs outlook and gas prices that have fallen throughout 2015 and put more cash in their pockets. Unemployment has fallen to 5% from 10 percent during the 2009 recession. Jewelry and watch sales have risen by 1-2% throughout 2015.

As in the past decade, more shoppers all over the world will be shopping online, giving diamond and jewelry firms the chance to expand their Internet sales. The holiday season got off to an 'official' start at the end of November with the Black Friday/Thanksgiving Weekend which is still a highly important time for sales and this year more than 151 million people said they shopped either in stores and/or online over the weekend, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) Survey. That compares with the 136 million, who in a mid-November survey, said they planned to shop over the weekend. Specifically, nearly 102 million people say they shopped in stores over the Thanksgiving weekend, and more than 103 million said they shopped online.

“It is clear that the age-old holiday tradition of heading out to stores with family and friends is now equally matched in the new tradition of looking online for holiday savings opportunities,” said Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO.

“We recognize the Thanksgiving weekend shopping experience is much different than it used to be as just as many people want that unique, exclusive online deal as they do that in-store promotion. It is clear that the age-old holiday tradition of heading out to stores with family and friends is now equally matched in the new tradition of looking online for holiday savings opportunities.

And jewelry companies are making a special effort this year to promote diamond jewelry, with Cartier, De Beers' Forevermark, Tiffany & Co and Signet Jewelers launching videos on YouTube and other social media or other marketing campaigns. Cartier’s 90-second holiday-season commercial for 2015 had been viewed more than 1.7 million times on YouTube as of Dec. 1, just a week after it was posted on the luxury group’s official YouTube page, making it the most popular release this year of an online advertisement by any major diamond jeweler. The advert features the classic Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, originally sung by Marilyn Monroe.

Meanwhile, Forevermark’s It's a Long Journey to Become The One had been viewed more than 42,000 times as of early December, a month after its release.

Over at upscale jeweler, Tiffany & Co, its commercial has seen more than 35,000 clicks on the company’s official YouTube page just three weeks after being released.

With the United States picking up considerable strength, that is expected to inevitably aid the global economy by creating demand from countries like China and India, which will, in turn, give consumers there increased disposable income at home.

In China, although the country's economic expansion has slowed from the 10% annual figure seen for at least the past decade, it is still likely to post a near 7% figure for 2015. Sales can be expected to rise ahead of the Chinese New Year in early February since diamond manufacturing, especially in India, has been cut back since at least mid-2015. That is helping to bring about a reduction in inventories, particularly in popular smaller diamonds for rings.

All in all, this holiday season is expected to be stable at a minimum, and likely beyond modest expectations.

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