The Pawnbroking Boom
In the eighties there was a massive financial boom as people relied on credit to
purchase all sorts of everyday items from houses and cars to household appliances
and furniture. Alongside this boom came the resurgence of the pawnbrokers, a
somewhat tired industry that had not seen any real growth for a number of years.
However, lending money is the pawnbrokers trade and in the eighties people wanted
to borrow and were encouraged to do so and as such the industry prospered.
But since then there was the late eighties bust, the relentless nineties and the recent
recession. So how have the pawnbrokers rode the storm and seen their industry
remain thriving and growing, even during times of socio-economic downturn and
Pawnbrokers in the past were unregulated and could to some extent manage their own
rules and regulations. However, since 1974 the industry has been regulated by the
Consumer Credit Act alongside banks and other financial institutions. This has given
the industry much needed credibility, allowing businesses to appeal to a much wider
audience than before. This combined with the credit boom of the eighties is really at
the heart of the beginning of this story.
Riding It Out
But it is not only in strong economic circumstances that the pawnbrokers boom.
Despite the recent recession (and in many cases because of it) pawnbrokers have been
able to see out the recent financial turmoil that has seen many businesses fold under
financial pressures. Rising prices of gold combined with an increase in cash-poor
customers has seen pawnbroking businesses flourish with The National Association of
Pawnbrokers reporting an eight percent increase in industry between 2012-2013.
It was back in 2012 that the UK’s largest pawnbrokers, H&T Pawnbrokers, decided
that they were going to target more wealthy patrons. The group started buying shops
in more up market areas and also trained the staff to spot and be proficient in valuing
expensive watches such as Rolex and other designer names.
It is not only H&T who are cashing in on wealthy patrons in need of short term loans.
A recent channel four documentary entitled Posh Pawn, goes behind the scenes at a
pawnbrokers who only deal exclusively with the rich and wealthy. From million
dollar diamond rings to helicopters, these businessmen have seen it all and made a
tidy profit of it too.
From rich to poor, with such a wide market and a never ending demand it looks likely
that this is one industry that will be around for many years to come.