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Pandemic dating struggles lead to downturn in engagement ring sales

Signet Jewelers noted the pandemic not only postponed weddings, but affected engagements too.
Pandemic dating struggles lead to downturn in engagement ring sales
Posted at 7:27 PM, Jun 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-15 19:28:46-04

Across the U.S., couples are racing down the aisle, eager to shake off the COVID-19 pandemic and finally tie the knot.

2022 saw a post-pandemic wedding boom of 2.6 million weddings, according to the wedding website The Knot.

But Signet Jewelers, which operates stores like Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared, noticed the pandemic not only postponed weddings, but affected engagements as well.

Signet's latest investor report shows jewelry sales dropped over 9% in the first quarter of 2023, though the company still raked in almost $2 billion in sales.

In the report, Signet blamed the drop in engagement ring sales on the COVID lockdown's effect on dating, as single people struggled to meet potential fiances. 

Executives told investors on a call that inflation and low consumer confidence also played a role in its lower sales as shoppers potentially opted for competitors with deeper discounts.

Signet's shares dropped last week after the company told investors that U.S. jewelry industry revenues would be even lower than they predicted for the upcoming year.

Not only are consumers dealing with economic headwinds, but attitudes about engagement rings are also shifting.

A poll earlier this year found only 25% of people think the ring is the most important part of a proposal.

A majority of respondents said they're open to non-diamond rings and 15% said they'd rather get tattoo rings instead. But not every jewelry company is struggling. 

In April, luxury retailer LVMH, which operates Tiffany's, boasted strong sales in its first quarter, including jewelry, suggesting that not every consumer is pinching pennies when it comes to rings.

Signet did not respond to our requests for interviews. The company says it expects engagement sales will keep struggling until fiscal year 2025. But they're predicting 500,000 more engagements from 2024 to 2026, according to the New York Times.

Bridal and engagement jewelry make up nearly half of Signet's merchandise sales.

SEE MORE: Why are more married couples living apart?


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