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The Luxury Market Is Changing: How To Turn Millennials On To Fine Jewelry Beyond Bridal |  December 02, 2015 (0 comments)


Merrick, NY—While every year brings change, this year seems to have brought more than most. At The Centurion, we know the retail landscape continues to evolve. To help you start out 2016 on the best note, we asked a variety of industry experts for their take on dealing with these changes. Each replied from their own viewpoint, offering strategies and insights into the changes the year ahead will bring. Our fifth installment is a Q&A with diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan, via the research firm NPD Group.

The Centurion: You’ve written extensively about the declining desire for diamonds among millennial consumers.  What do you think could turn that around and make them desire diamonds?

Edahn Golan: One of the largest social shifts we are seeing in recent years, which is coming at the expense of purchasing products, is the growing interest in experiences. Perhaps the industry should present a proposal, wedding and marriage as experiences, major life experiences – as opposed to events, and diamond rings positioned as ways of remembering and commemorating these experiences.

Centurion: Millennials are highly suspicious of advertising—yet they’re also highly motivated by it to purchase. Obviously the kind of advertising the industry has done over the years isn’t resonating with them, so what will?

Golan: I think they are simply less exposed to diamond industry marketing because there is a lot less of it. If the idea is to tap into “experiences” with life experiences, this of De Beers’ ‘Hands’ commercial from a few years ago. It’s an emotional piece that evoked the notion that life is an experience that we go through together.

At the same time, we always need a story. The right hand ring had a story: empowerment. The three stone ring had a story: past, present and future. Journey had a story: life is a journey we take together. All of them are great starting points for creating marketing for a new generation, which likes a good story just like every other generation did.  

Centurion: Many jewelers have a solid millennial bridal business, but beyond bridal, Millennials don’t seem inclined to spend money on fine jewelry. What can the industry do to sell “forever” to a consumer that’s used to disposable clothes, disposable phones, etc.?

Golan: That is one of the biggest challenges the industry is facing today. Consumers need to feel that diamond jewelry has value for the long run. And this value can be financial, design, social or any other type of value we may hold.

Design is probably the one that can be addressed most easily. Americans after all are spending on items that they will hold on to for years: houses, antiques, art and more. They see value in holding on to these and it’s worthwhile for the diamond industry to understand why and tap into it.  

Centurion: What are the three most important things for luxury retail jewelers can do to get Millennials excited about shopping for jewelry in their stores, rather than online?

Golan: Service, design differentiation and knowledge of the product and its provenance. Brick and mortar retailers are often worried about online retailers. However, many consumers that buy online stop in a store before making a purchase. They want to see what the diamond they considered buying online looks like in reality. If you are not a diamantaire, you can’t visualize H color versus I color, or know what an SI1 looks compared to an SI2 (the same to the naked eye!). So they stop in a store to see for themselves.

From a retailer’s perspective, they have a “hot” buyer in their store – someone that decided to make a purchase, has a budget in mind, knows pretty much what they want to buy, but only needs a few more pieces of information to make a final decision. This is an excellent opportunity to make a sale. This is when a retailer can expand the horizon and talk about make, for example, and its importance to a diamond’s beauty.

Because many Millennials want “same but different” an engagement ring, but not the one their friends or mother has, which is where differentiation comes into play. Retailers should be flexible and allow alterations of what they have in store, service, in short.

Brick and mortar specialty jewelers are also facing competition from multi-item stores such as Macy’s. It is a similar battle over price, and the same applies here: offer value through design, service and knowledge. 

Missed any previous installments in our series? Click here to read:

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