Shifts in shopper demographics, a growth in the number of jewelry designers, and emerging 3D technologies are all having a significant impact on how today’s jewelry shoppers look for and buy jewelry. Knowing what these trends are can present great opportunities for jewelry retailers. With that in mind, we took a look at the jewelry shopping habits and trends that are shaping jewelry sales today.
Self-gifting. Traditionally, jewelry has been given as a gift to someone else, but today, self-gifting jewelry is a rapidly rising trend. This trend is particularly pronounced among women whose participation in the economy continues to grow. Today, women are looking for jewelry that marks personal milestones and achievements, in addition to engagements and weddings. This means there’s now greater focus on fashion and casual, everyday jewelry. There is also a growing demand for jewelry that emphasizes design and self-expression (think confidence, empowerment, creativity etc.,) rather than status. The takeaway? Statement earrings, diamond studs, huggies, hoops, ear cuffs, Y necklaces, and cocktail rings are popular self-gifted jewelry items. Make sure you have a nice selection to show!
Online shopping. Jewelry sales are increasingly moving online as evidenced by the global jewelry market’s continuing shift toward e-commerce. In addition to making final purchases online, shoppers often compare prices, search for jewelry design ideas and inspiration, read about designers, and look for discounts and promotions online. The takeaway? Jewelry retailers that use 3D printing to produce their jewelry can take advantage of the decrease in production costs it provides by offering attractive discounts and promotions to lure in customers. Furthermore, creating professional looking, attractive websites that provide information about the designers and beautiful renders of jewelry pieces will help attract more shoppers.
Social responsibility. Today’s jewelry shoppers are concerned with a brand’s social responsibility. This is particularly true regarding the diamond industry where many shoppers express ethical concerns about buying diamonds because they don’t want to risk purchasing ‘blood diamonds’ (diamonds mined in conflict regions of Africa and then sold in ways that fuel extreme violence in the region). As a result, more and more consumers are buying lab-grown diamonds, which have the added benefit of being less environmentally destructive and less costly. Even DeBeers, the company that almost single-handedly controls the allure, scarcity and costliness of diamonds, has started selling lab-grown diamonds. Perhaps this is because, according to a DeBeers study, “more than a fifth of U.S. engagement-ring shoppers cared about the responsible sourcing of diamonds.” The takeaway? Choice is important to consumers today. While there will always be a demand for real diamonds, jewelry retailers should offer choices if they want to remain competitive.
Colored Gems. The appeals of colored gemstones has grown significantly with many of today’s jewelry shoppers preferring colored gemstones such as sapphires, garnets, amethysts and tourmalines over traditional colorless diamonds. A driving factor in this preference is cost, but shoppers also like the individuality and uniqueness that colored gemstones help express. The takeaway? Again, choices. Diamonds are great for many, but others are looking for something different or less costly. More choices, means more shoppers.
Customization. Another big trend is customized jewelry, particularly amongst millennials. Talkbusiness.net reports that the “custom jewelry business in the U.S accounts for about half of the industry’s $80 billion annual sales revenue”. Shoppers want original, unique pieces, and being tech savvy, they will shop online till they find a retailer that can take special orders and meet their design requests. While we may not be able to say whether advances in CAD modeling and 3D printing technology have fueled this trend or the trend has fueled these advances, one thing is certain; CAD modeling and 3D printing have definitely made meeting the demand for customized jewelry easier, more expedient, and less costly. The takeaway? Whether they use traditional techniques or modern technology, retailers need to be able to offer custom-made jewelry. This is a trend that’s not going away.