- The cost of goods in the US saw its largest monthly increase since 2012.
- Jewelry and watches were among several items that saw a significant price boost.
- Prices are expected to continue rising in the coming months as vaccination levels increase.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Luxury items became even more expensive last month as the price of goods in the US saw its highest monthly increase in nearly 9 years, according to the US Bureau and Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.
Jewelry and watches were among several items that pushed the overall surge in prices. The cost of jewelry in the US rose 7.4% from the previous year and nearly 6% between February and March, according to the index.
Similarly, the price of watches also rose 4.3% from 2020 and 2.4% in the past month alone.
While the price increase might not seem particularly high on a surface level, they could put a further strain on the wallets of people buying big-ticket items.
If applied to the average price of a Rolex in 2020 – which falls around $12,000, according to Wrist Advisor – rising prices mean buyers can add about $500 to the price tag.
And that’s just for the average buyer. Customers looking to purchase even more pricey watches, like Rolex’s $75,000 model, would have to tack on an additional $3,000 to that price tag.
Similarly, for couples looking to buy a diamond engagement ring – an item with an average price around $5,000, according to Jewelry Wise – buyers can expect to pay an additional $370 this year, or even see a price increase of $285 from the previous month.
Prices in the US are only expected to continue to rise in the coming months, as increased vaccination rates allow the economy to reopen and demand to surge.
The cost of goods has also been impacted by several supply disruptions, including a shipping container shortage, port delays in California, and the impact of the Texas freeze on production in the state. Many companies are also still struggling to meet demand after cutting back on production due to COVID-19 shutdowns last year.
Outside of watch and jewelry prices, the Consumer Price Index showed several other goods had significant price increases, in particular fuel and food. Gas prices jumped over 9% in the past month and drove the largest increase in the index.
Overall, prices rose over last year at their highest rate since 2018, beating analysts estimates. The index rose 0.6%, while analysts estimated a 0.5% increase, according to Dow Jones estimates.