Women who buy fine jewelry, particularly younger women, want more variety in color and fashion styles represented in traditional jewelry stores, find recent studies by MVI Marketing.
“Women are interested in more color to go with their outfits,” says Liz Chatelain, president of the Austin, Texas-based fine jewelry market research firm, which has been tracking self-purchase women for years. “They don’t see the products they want in fine jewelry stores, preferring to shop department stores and non-traditional spaces. They don’t find traditional jewelry stores warm and experiential, or see many women, particularly younger women, on staff.
Women shop for every type of accessory up to six times a year, except fine jewelry, reports MVI CEO Marty Hurwitz, who believes jewelry needs to be seen as an imperative, an essential accessory like shoes and bag with an outfit. Consumer reports cite women on average buy four pairs of shoes a year. “There’s a big crisis in jewelry inventory that’s stale and doesn’t sell through.”
Hurwitz encourages jewelers to shift from being gemologists with a focus on the diamond engagement ring sale to fashion experts that advise women how to build their jewelry wardrobe — which would cultivate steady business throughout the year. The sweet spot is for trendy, colorful jewelry that retails between $100 and $1,000.
“You can see all the signs of a demographic segment that will be spending for themselves, and for gifts, in increasing numbers and price points,” says Chatelain. “Luxury brands like Tiffany, Marriott and Jimmy Choo are already seeing strong penetration based on their recent video content marketing efforts and others seeking an answer to the millennial consuming puzzle should become more aggressive with their content marketing to young self-purchasing women.”
MVI found that more than half (51 percent) of millennial age women surveyed (over 1,000 respondents, aged 25-40, with a total household income of $75,000+) say they are the primary buyer of fine jewelry in their households. In fact, nearly 60% said they were prompted to make their last fine jewelry purchase “just because”. Luxury marketers have begun to evolve their messaging surrounding jewelry, but as millennials become a bigger consumer base for high-end goods, it will become even more important to appeal to women themselves.
Paola De Luca, Founder and Creative Director for the Italian luxury marketing firm The Futurist, publisher of TrendVision, reminds jewelers not to overlook women, 40-55, or even 60, Gen Xers, third largest generation in America following Millennials and Boomers. She is established in the workforce/her career, makes her own money, and isn’t afraid to spend it on herself.
Connecting with Color
“I do see color as an important component in expanding the category of female self-purchasers,” says Allison Peck for the New York City-based Color Merchants. “In today’s retail environment, customers are getting inundated with advertisements constantly; because of this, the customer wants to feel a connection with their purchase.
Color helps a woman create that connection to her new piece. “It may be in her favorite color, a loved one’s birthstone, or anniversary month,” shares Peck. “The color chosen by the woman may not mean anything to the outside world, but you can bet it’ll have deeper meaning to her!”
Peck sees color, specifically semi-precious, as a leading product category for self-purchase (like topaz, amethyst, citrine and garnet). Also, fancy cuts and unique settings add a modern twist to classic designs, like gemstone rings with elongated ovals and marquises set east-to-west.
“Women are indulging in self-purchasing! How gratifying is it to purchase something with so much meaning,” cheers Theresa Namie, Merchandise Manager for Ostbye in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “It feels so good to own something that has a special story and can have a look that fits your personality. All jewelers can tap into this!”
In its “Imagine, Design, Create” custom design program, Quality Gold has experienced growing demand for both colored center stones and accent stones in custom sales the last six months (especially in bridal and family jewelry), says Karen Crowe, Merchandising/Marketing for the brand in Fairfield, Ohio. Even the wedding magazine Brides hailed “colored stone engagement rings crazy popular among millennials” this past December — with gems like sapphire, ruby, emerald, and opal trending.
Social media has fueled women’s desire for gemstones and as female self-purchases continue to rise, colored gemstones will continue to offer something unique that fits their style and energy, says Amanda Gizzi, Director of Public Relations & Special Events for JA.
“With so many gems available, there is always something new to learn and explore.” Instagram has been a popular platform for fine jewelry and gems. For 2019, she sees jewelry as being really fun, with statement-making styles taking center stage — like over-sized hoop and long dangle earrings, fancy shape stones, bead tassels, and bold gem rings.”