Tuesday, May 26, 2009
QVC loves to flash a little bling-bling. In fact, it's how they built their multi-billion dollar empire. But with the economy swirling the drain and gold prices continuing to skyrocket, home shopping customers are losing interest in shiny objects.
The Q is now focusing more on "practical" items like electronics, kitchen gadgets, and food (although I for one don't think that a $50 cheesecake is practical). Just think back to this past Memorial Day weekend. Save for the Black Hills Gold show last night, there was nary a sparkle to be found. I think every time I flipped onto QVC they were presenting that flat garden hose or a food item of some sort.
The problem--other than Queen Bea being bored out of her gourd--is that jewelry has a much higher profit margin than these other categories. Sales focused on non-jewelry categories and lower price points resulted in QVC's first quarter earnings dropping 18% from last year.
The trend against jewelry isn't just affecting QVC. The demand for gold is at a 20-year low and all jewelry retailers are suffering. When you just lost your job or you aren't sure that you'll still have a job in a month, buying a new bauble simply isn't the priority.
Even Jewelry Television (JTV)--a channel focused solely on jewelry and gems--is getting in on the act. JTV recently rolled out a new gemstone-infused skincare line called DermaGem. I can only assume that they are looking to find new non-jewelry products to help carry them through the slump.
On the flip side, that ginormous 25-carat apple quartz ring pictured at the top of the page is the Today's Special at HSN ... maybe there is hope. The sheer audacity of that ring makes me smile. Home shopping without bling is like eating cereal with no milk. Yuck.