IBM analytics forecast: Jewelry sales to bring holiday cheer to retailers

Armonk, N.Y. -- Jewelry will be one of the brightest categories for U.S. retailers this holiday season, according to a new analytics-based forecast by IBM. Jewelry sales are set to hit $2.6 billion In November, up 7.7% over the year-ago period, IBM reported, and $5.4 billion in December, up 4% over last year.

The forecast is produced by IBM retail analytics leader Dr. Michael Haydock, who noted that 2011 U.S. jewelry sales have been highly correlated to the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), also called the “Fear Index,” which measures the volatility of the S&P 500 stock index.

The increase in the VIX has been accompanied by an increase in jewerly sales two months later. This relationship is somewhat counterintuitive as one would typically expect a volatile stock market to increase fear and dampen demand for luxury goods.

“The correlation — jewelry sales rising two months after big stock swings — is highly unusual and bears watching,” Haydock said. “If the trend continues, it could enhance the work we do in helping clients improve the efficiency and impact of their marketing and advertising programs.”

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