More Than Child’s Play

The kidswear market is booming, hailed as one of the fastest growing and most profitable segments in the global fashion and accessories business. The Business of Fashion (BOF) expects this segment of the market to reach $173.6 billion by the end of 2017, growing at a CAGR of more than 6% by 2020.

Overtaking the men’s and women’s wear markets, kidswear maintained steady growth during the period of global economic crisis, described by the fashion intelligence company Fashionbi as “the text book case for a market pattern” due to its immunity from economic dynamics and temporary fashion trends. BOF suggests market growth is driven by demographic shifts in birth rate, increasing purchase power of parents, and a glut of Baby-Boomer grandparents with more disposable income available than ever before.

Brands that aren’t marketing to tykes and teens, warns Fashionbi, are missing out on a major market opportunity. Whether you’re an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shop, you should be paying attention to Gen Z.

Defined by Ad Age as consumers aged 2 to 19, Gen Z may not be your customers now, but within three years the top of the generation will graduate college, and in five to 10 years they’ll be new consumers and in a big way. They make up over 25 percent of the U.S. population, and by 2020 are set to reach 2.6 billion says the National Retail Federation. They already contribute $44 billion to the U.S. economy, cites Mashable.

Meaningful Messaging
Gen Z consumers are not about conspicuous consumption; good quality and craftsmanship, affordable pricing, and what a brand stands for all matter to the youth of today, reports YPULSE. Globally aware and connected, Gen Z is frugal and practical, philanthropic and environmentally conscious.

When it comes to jewelry options for kids, tweens and teens, the bestsellers include charms, pearls, diamond, and birthstone jewelry. They like styles that are unique, personal and can be customized.

Making a statement with jewelry is key for the youth market, says Scott Rauch, president of SHR Jewelry Group, division of SDC Designs, in New York. He cites two lines he sees connecting with the older end of the demographic: Peace and Love by Nancy Davis, reflecting happiness and good luck with heart and peace signs in silver, diamonds and gems (benefitting Multiple Sclerosis); and I Can, I Will, part of its new line of “empowerment” jewelry for young women. The logo is a four-pointed cross reinterpreting a traditional message of faith, hope, love and strength to a modern one of ambition, confidence, courage and determination.

“Gen Z is more about experiences than things,” says Rauch, “so jewelers must give them a reason to want jewelry, and having it stand for something is critical.”

Rhian Burrell Joseph, marketing manager for Chrysalis, a Richline brand, cites the popularity for charms, particularly its expandable bangles and rings that can be stacked—a part of the storytelling and self-branding social media encourages.

“Our stacking and layering concept encourages repeat purchases as customers build their collections,” describes Joseph, noting the meanings behind each piece tell our unique stories. She cites the brand’s Charmed collection as a bestseller with the youth market, in particular its Dream Catcher, Key of Life, and Guardian Angel designs that fit perfectly with the boho chic and festival trends. The trend is to mix and match metals. The metallic wraps in its Bohemia collection also are trending with crystals providing a pop of color.

Cora Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio, agrees teen consumers and into their early 20s are heavy into boho chic looks from the ‘70s. “Natural stone mixed in metals and also with leathers are popular with them. They like layering necklaces, bracelets and rings and are mixing metals and finishes to make their own fashion statements.”

Kids Classics
With pearls the hottest gem in jewelry, accessories and fashion design today it is no wonder a new generation of girls want to wear them. Honora, a Richline brand in New York continues to expand its Honora Girl collection with an assortment of colorful freshwater pearls in styles like triple stud earrings, bolo bracelets, and chain necklaces in silver; as well as delicate mother-of-pearl inlay in contemporary classics like bar, heart and star designs are popular.

Stacking continues with colorful pearl stretch and leather bracelets, cites Wendy Fox, senior director of sales independent division for Honora, who notes the brand also does well with gift sets for earrings and matching jewelry styles.

Audrey Robbins for Marathon, Attleboro, Massachusetts concurs that classic designs set with pearl, diamond, birthstone, and CZ like stud earrings and pendants are staples in children’s fine jewelry, with hearts, flowers, butterflies, stars, and crosses evergreen. She notes that Marathon’s children’s Kiddie Kraft brand and pre-teen Stepping Stones line are popular for kids up to about 8 or 9 years old. After that age, girls want something like their mom’s have in lockets, crosses, convertible clasp bangles, a nice hoop all make the perfect gift.”

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