The number of companies in the jewelry industry is expected to top $1 billion this year, according to industry experts.
That would mark the first time since the late 1970s that the industry has experienced such a spike in sales and spending, said Richard N. Schaeffer, president of the American Jewelry Association, a trade group.
The industry has been struggling since the end of the financial crisis, when prices for a variety of jewelry items, including earrings, bracelets, earrings with gems and earrings that have been worn by women, fell sharply.
“We’ve been very bullish about the industry in general,” said Michael P. Pincus, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in Philadelphia.
“And we’re not doing a great job in terms of what we’re doing with our investments in the market.”
The market is expected in the next 12 months to surpass the $1.1 trillion mark for the first and only time in history, analysts say.
“The demand is out there, the demand is there,” said Krista J. Mancuso, an economist at Renaissance Technologies Inc. in New York.
“This is an industry that’s been in growth mode for some time.
And now it’s getting back to where it needs to be.”
For now, there are plenty of people willing to pay for this rarest of jewels: Mother’s day jewelry.
While jewelry sales have been growing at a slower rate in recent years, they are still more than twice as large as they were before the crisis, according a survey by Nielsen and the International Federation of Jewelry Manufacturers.
There is also demand for necklaces, earwax earrings and necklacing bracelets.
The price of a $50,000 bracelet could be $200,000, said Mancoso, who expects jewelry to be on the increase for several years.
“There are lots of people who are really looking forward to the day that they will own a piece of jewelry,” said Richard H. Ragan, an investment banker at UBS Securities in Zurich.
But the rise in demand could prove costly, as companies with a vested interest in seeing a higher number of sales in the coming years face pressure from competitors to get more product on the market.
Mancososo said jewelry is also an important way for young women to show off their personal style.
“They want to be able to wear their jewelry with pride,” she said.
While the market for earrings may be growing, they may not be growing as quickly as women are looking for earways, Mancys said.
“There is this stigma attached to earrings for women,” she added.
For now, earlings, earbuds and other earwalls remain a luxury for some women, while other jewelry is becoming more affordable.
Pincus predicted that the jewelry market will surpass the billions of dollars in sales in 2015.
In a report to clients in May, the International Association of Jewelers, a group of trade associations, said the market is set to surpass $1,000 billion this fiscal year.
That compares with $1-billion in sales this year for the same period last year.
Still, the industry is not without problems.
For one, the U.S. has the highest number of unregistered women-owned businesses, according.
In 2014, there were about 8.3 million businesses registered, according the nonprofit Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
The number was 4.6 million in 2014.
The International Federation for Jewelry Manufacturer’s Association said the number of registered female-owned companies has remained steady, with 1.4 million registered, and that the rate of growth is at a two-year high.
Meanwhile, a number of other industries have also seen a drop in sales.
“I would not be surprised to see that industry growth drop in the future,” said Chris Eberhard, chief executive of the Chicago-based business consulting firm The Dalles, in an interview.
Other industries that may see a drop include the jewelry trade, which employs about 8,500 people, including about 3,000 workers at Tiffany & Bobbs-Merrill.
The firm has seen sales drop since 2013, when the recession hit, and is also losing more than $50 million a year to the downturn.
“That is definitely a concern for the industry,” Eberhas said.
“I would be shocked if we didn’t see a decline in sales,” said Elizabeth A. Rizzuto, president and CEO of the New York-based jewelry chain H&M.
Another concern is that consumers are getting older, with a median age of 45 for men and 46 for women, according data compiled by the consulting firm NPD Group Inc. That is up from 33 in the mid-1990s, when there were only a few more baby boomers