IDC Forecasts U.S. Online Jewelry Sales Will Exceed $1 Billion in 2004

FRAMINGHAM, MA – JUNE 29, 2000 – Retailers in the online jewelry market have a golden opportunity to seriously increase their revenues. According to IDC, the U.S. market will grow from $77 million in 1999 to over $1 billion in 2004. In fact, IDC believes growth of the online jewelry market will be faster than that of consumer ecommerce as a whole and of Web adoption

in the United States in general.

"The market will defy the conventional wisdom that says consumers would want to see and hold fine jewelry before they plunk down large amounts of money," said Jonathan Gaw, a research manager with IDC's Consumer eCommerce Major Purchases program.

Because of this conventional wisdom, the fine jewelry industry has been late to get in on the ecommerce frenzy sweeping the nation, and the market's development is currently one year behind other online markets. However, IDC believes the industry's tardiness will be a major advantage. "Although they face the same challenges with regard to channel conflict and infrastructure development as those confronted by their counterparts in other industries,

fine jewelry etailers will be able to apply the lessons of those that came before them to accelerate their learning curve," Gaw said.

Most consumers who purchase fine jewelry online will be experienced ecommerce purchasers and be comfortable with the process. IDC believes this fact could be a double-edged sword for fine jewelry etailers. "Online jewelry consumers will know what a good Internet selling experience is, and they won't tolerate a poor one from an etailer trying to sell a $1,000 item," Gaw said.

Factors contributing to the growth of the online jewelry market include an increasing amount of jewelry stores selling their products online, the lower prices of online goods, improvements in technology that will enhance online viewing, and the no-pressure atmosphere of online buying.

According to IDC, brick-and-mortar fine jewelry retailers who move online will have a significant advantage over brick-and mortars from other industries that moved online. Brand names and the trust they convey will be the reason for the advantage as they carry more weight with fine jewelry purchases than other purchases.

"While most traditional retailers moving into cyberspace pay lip service to a bricks-and-clicks strategy, that tactic does have relevance in the case of fine jewelry," Gaw said. "The high price tags mean that customers will probably always require some hand-holding and assurances during the process, and they will value the security of having a store to which they can return merchandise." IDC's new report A Diamond in the Rough: U.S. Online Fine Jewelry Market Forecast and Analysis, 1999-2004 (IDC #B22510) sizes the market. The report looks at factors driving the online jewelry market, provides a snapshot of the current market, and forecasts sales through 2004. IDC's recommendations for merchants selling fine jewelry online are also presented. To purchase the report, please contact Demetra Georgakopoulos at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4496 or at demetra@idc.com.

For more information on IDC's eBusiness programs, please visit idc.com/ebusiness/.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.