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Unique products, customer service are key to battle
credit crunch IJL

LONDON, February 5, 2009 A unique product range and excellent customer service are vital to counter the economic downturn, according to a survey of UK jewellers conducted by IJL after Christmas.

'In this tough economic climate, it is encouraging to see that retailers are focusing on their long-term business strengths, offering innovative, unique products and really paying attention to their customer service, said Syreeta Tranfield, Exhibition Manager for International Jewellery London (IJL).

The survey has revealed that despite the credit crunch affecting sales, the industry is focusing on strategies for success with an emphasis on having a unique product range and providing the best customer service.

These business qualities were ranked more highly than 'knee-jerk' reactions, such as an increase in discounts and special offers, or trying to compete on price.

However, despite not being seen as the most important survival tactic, a quarter of retailers ran a pre-Christmas sale as a result of the credit crunch -- something that the majority of whom (74 percent) would not usually do.

The survey also reveals further changes in retailing patterns in the lead up to Christmas with 79 percent of respondents claiming that they had changed their buying patterns as a result of the credit crunch.

Likewise, consumer habits have also adapted, with 82 percent of respondents noting that consumers were bartering more for a reduction in price at the point of sale.

Overall, 63 percent of respondents did not feel that the credit crunch affected Christmas sales as badly as was feared, with most sharing the view that the sector was no more hit than any other industry.

The crunch definitely hit however -- 62 percent of respondents experienced reduced sales in the last quarter of 2008.

But, encouragingly 38 percent reported an increase in sales.

Of the respondents reporting a downturn in sales, the vast majority (79 percent) found that sales were down by less than 30 percent -- with 39 percent declaring a downturn of less than 10 percent.

In terms of price points, the middle price points were perceived as suffering the most (43 percent), which reinforces the view that sales are polarising due to the current economic situation.

Ms Tranfield, Exhibition Manager for IJL, said: As the premier UK event for the industry, we are equally focusing on providing the best showcase for the sector to encourage optimum sales and successful networking.

At the same time, all the features such as the high profile seminar programme are dedicated to providing top quality advice and education on every aspect of marketing and retailing.

International Jewellery London
6th 9th September 2009

Earls Court 2, London




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