The factors driving growth in youth apparel and accessories include greater exposure of children to media and the rise in materialism, excessive consumption and impulsive purchases; greater autonomy and decision-making power of kids and their enhanced role in purchase decisions; growing affluence of parents; and widening range of choices offered by luxury and designer brands.
The market research firm identifies a distinct trend towards “premiumization” with consumers for children’s wear exhibiting a robust appetite for premium designer products and brands. It cites growing profitability of the rise of the “mini me”, aka “mom and me” trend, and a trend towards allowing children to choose their own clothing and accessories to encourage expression of individuality. Girl’s wear will remain the largest market through 2024.
Other growth factors include more lively design and style innovation offered by branded and private label manufacturers; robust demand for non-gender specific products; adver-gaming, viral marketing and social media advertising targeting children; and an increasing number of luxury brands catering to this market, elevating brand awareness among children. Children, newborn to 14 years old, encompass nearly 26% of the total global population.
“The children’s market is a very important niche,” cites Kathy Grenier, vice president of business development for the Providence, Rhode Island based Imperial Pearl, who notes that the brand recently expanded its offerings for this category. “Children’s jewelry is your next best business decision, a hidden gem of lucrative business. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly there are countless occasions moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and more seek quality keepsake gifts for the children they love. Become the source for this lucrative children’s market!
Barbara Barry with the Marathon Company and Kiddie Kraft brand, Attleboro, Massachusetts concurs that every jeweler should incorporate some children’s and youth jewelry in their mix. “It may start out as an add-on item to a larger purchase, but then the customer remembers the jeweler carries children’s/youth jewelry and will return to purchase a piece for a birthday, confirmation, graduation… for that person.”
Grenier underscores that for a small investment and footprint, your ROI will “astound”. “Gain new business and market share, as well as fill the needs of customers,” she says. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Jewelry is a great gift for a young person because they are mature enough to care for it, underscores Barry. “Finely crafted classic jewelry is timeless and gifting jewelry to children or youth helps build a beautiful collection. When that youth matures and starts making her own money, she’ll be able to buy jewelry for herself and add to her collection.”
Keep it Personal
Personalization is a big trend right now, not only for adults but kids as well.
Barry notes that products like lockets and bracelets that can be engraved are among the bestselling keepsakes. “Lockets are particularly gift-able and meaningful,” she says. “In the world today, people need to feel connected to one another and a locket fills that void. You can place many things in a locket besides pictures, such as a special message or poem, a lock of hair, even ashes.”
Hinged bangle and ID bracelets are also popular products to engrave with initials, monograms and names, Barry cites. Initial pendants and birthstone jewelry are trending, too. She says that genuine birthstone earrings and pendants, as well as CZ in all metal types in a range of price points are popular.
Typically, classic designs set with pearl, diamond, birthstone, and CZ, including stud earrings and pendants are staples in children’s fine jewelry, with hearts, flowers, butterflies, stars, and crosses evergreen motifs for children up to about 8 or 9 years old. After that age, Barry notes that girls prefer something more like their mom’s have in lockets, crosses, convertible clasp bangles, or a nice hoop.
Recognizing that girls love pearls, pearl brands such as Imperial and Honora are cultivating pearl collectors from a young age. Imperial advocates the build a pearl necklace concept like its Pearl-by-Pearl program that creates a pearl necklace with single pearls gifted over a girl’s childhood. For this program, Imperial promotes 3mm-9mm Akoya, sold loose and as a starter necklace on 14K gold chain.
Honora, a Richline brand, has its Honora Girls program that includes box sets of candy color pearl studs and necklace-bracelet-earring ensembles, as well as colorful pearl stretchy and wrap style bracelets, and pearls mixed with popular motifs like hearts, crosses and stars, as well as more whimsical icons like cupcakes and unicorns in enamel and mother of pearl.