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The State of the Pawn Industry Ahead of Pawn Expo 22

In 2020, the US pawn market was worth $2.43 billion. Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, the industry grew to $2.6 billion in 2021 and is set to reach a value of $4.12 billion by 2028. But how do we know?

David H. Fell & Co. is proud to announce that we will be exhibiting at Pawn Expo 22, to be held at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, from July 11 to 14. The Pawn Expo is the annual trade show of the National Pawnbrokers Association, a professional organization that works to advance the professional image of the pawnbroking industry. For us, the Pawn Expo is a great opportunity to meet with members of the pawn industry, strengthen our existing partnerships, and deepen our understanding of how to help pawnbrokers meet the challenges of the future. As we prepare for the show, let’s take a look at the state of the pawn industry in the United States and how we can best serve the industry going forward.

Market Outlook

In 2020, the US pawn market was worth $2.43 billion. Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, the industry grew to $2.6 billion in 2021 and is set to reach a value of $4.12 billion by 2028. Growth in the pawn industry is being driven by an increased demand for short-term loans as well as mergers of major pawnbroker companies, such as FirstCash’s $1.17 billion acquisition of American First Finance in 2021.

The industry also faces some of the same challenges that the rest of the retail sector faces. These challenges, while not caused by the pandemic, have certainly been exacerbated by it. The overall number of pawn shop retail storefronts has declined over the past seven years, a trend seen across the retail sector, but many pawnbrokers have found room for growth in ecommerce as consumer purchasing preferences for all products shift to online venues. Pawnbrokers who embrace ecommerce, social commerce, and omnichannel sales strategies stand to benefit most from the projected growth of the industry.

The rising price of gold has been a boon for the pawn industry, as pawnshops became a popular choice for consumers seeking to sell old and unwanted jewelry and gold collectibles. Gold prices have risen dramatically since the recession of 2008, from about $800 per ounce in 2009 to $1400 in 2019. The price of gold as of April 2022 is just over $1900 per ounce. Jewelry accounts for the second-largest share of pawn shop transactions: 13% of all items Americans bring into pawn shops are jewelry. Gold should continue to be a major component of pawn industry revenue well into the future.

Metal Refining and Pawn Shops

With gold accounting for such a large share of a pawn shop’s business, second only to electronics, it is important that pawnbrokers pick the right refiner, one who is going to give them an accurate assessment and a fair price. We have served the pawn industry in this capacity for nearly 50 years, and that success and longevity is built on trust and honest dealing. This desire to give our clients the best price is reflected in our process.

After we receive your material, we confirm the material received and record its weight. We then determine and confirm with the client the most appropriate and profitable refining procedure, whether that’s incineration, smelting, or some other procedure. We then assess a sample and analyze it the fine metal content to parts per million using a number of processes depending on the metal.

The entire process is designed with accuracy and transparency in mind. We thrive on repeat business, and we know that if you’re not fair, accurate, and honest, you’re not going to retain customers. Read more about our refining process here.

We’re looking forward to seeing old friends and building new partnerships at this year’s Pawn Expo. Stop by booth #417 to learn more about what our refining services can do for your business.