Customers who frequent both brick-and-mortar and online jewelry stores today are a new breed of buyer. Savvy jewelery sellers aware of their morphing customer base and noting recent shifts in consumer preferences stand to fare better than their regional and Internet rivals.
American jewelry enthusiasts are looking for lower-priced luster, and they’re getting younger. They are also buying online and outside the typical holiday season, according to a trends report featured in a recent issue of National Jeweler.
Interest in acquiring diamond jewelry waned in 2014, the report notes, while purchases picked up for items marketed at lower price points. One reason cited for the decline in diamond-buying is consumers’ current indifference toward diamond education.
Some jewelry shoppers also see diamonds as haughty and are not as emotionally stirred by the longtime De Beers “A Diamond Is Forever” ad campaign (which is relaunching in late 2015 with the company’s Forevermark Diamonds).
The industry’s make-or-break November-December holiday season is also in a state of flux. Fewer consumers participate in the tradition of buying expensive jewelry as a gift for the holidays.
Before the recession, the winter-holiday selling season generated more than 30% of annual sales across the entire industry. In 2014 the two-month period accounted for a lower 26% of annual sales.
More jewelry consumers are also choosing to shop online and throughout the year, particularly in October to take advantage of aggressive preholiday promotions extended by jewelry retailers.
One of the more interesting findings from the National Jeweler trends report is who’s buying. As would be expected, consumers in the golden years of their careers are reliable target customers. The biggest buyers of fine jewelry and watches are married, between the ages of 55 and 64, and don’t have children.
Remove watch sales, though, and sales data paint a portrait of an entirely different demographic. Removing sales of watches from the equation revealed that millennials (age 25-34) bought more jewelry than any other group.
We should all know, jewelers included, that 20-somethings don’t need anything but their trusty smartphone, Fitbit, or Garmin to tell the time.
Industry Impact — Jewelry store operators should work to boost volume sales of jewelry marketed at lower price points throughout the year to supplement slightly slower sales of high-priced jewelry during the traditional holiday selling season.
Tracking the moves of consumer products makers since 2003, Colbert is a company insights writer and blogger. Before covering companies, she spent ample time in magazine publishing, technical writing, ad copywriting, medical writing, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter.