Top 10 Macro Trends For 2017 And How They Impact You
London, UK—Euromonitor International, a leading global market research firm, has released its list of the Top 10 Consumer Trends for 2017. These macro trends will impact every industry to varying degrees, by impacting your customers’ attitudes and shopping behaviors. Below is a very brief excerpt from the report with The Centurion’s editorial commentary on each trend’s relevance to luxury jewelers; click here to obtain the in-depth 45-page report.
1. Aging. A changing narrative. In 2017, almost one-quarter of the planet’s population will be over 50, a record number. These consumers are transforming what it means to be older and are keen consumers of a long list of health, beauty, and fashion products, and they’re receptive to technology. “Midorexia” is described in the report as a tongue-in-cheek label for the middle-aged and older consumer who acts younger than their years but it emphasizes the shifting status and expectations of a demographic whose members are living and working longer and challenging the norms of behavior for older people. Euromonitor has taken note of multiple experts’ suggestions that brands focus less on Millennials and more on 50+ customers. AARP puts the U.S. annual economic activity of this market at $7.6 trillion.
2. Consumers in training. Children today are both seen and heard, and it’s not just American kids running the family show; it’s becoming a global trend driven by parents struggling with work / life balance and the subsequent demand for greater convenience, kids spending time online and staying home well into young adulthood. Children give input and opinions into purchasing decisions that once were strictly adult territory, from where to eat to what kind of car to buy. Being online exposes kids to brands that solicit the start of an evolving consumer relationship.
For jewelers: actively involve children in the sales process. Give a quick, simple explanation of the stones and metals they’re looking at and why they’re valuable, and if they’re accompanying a parent shopping for a gift, ask their opinions and listen to what they say. Kids are great observers with unfiltered opinions and often surprisingly astute at knowing what Mom or Dad likes.
3. Extraordinary. With a population diverse in size, shape, color, religion, food tastes, music tastes, and so forth, “one size fits all” is no longer relevant. The Internet enables consumers to purchase unique, customized and exotic products and services and find a voice and calling for more buying choices and solutions-based design. Extraordinary consumers are now more outspoken when their needs are underserved, in areas like travel, hotel accommodation, furniture design, and medical care as well as fashion. Their needs are less niche and more mainstream.
Two examples that relate to jewelers: plus-sized consumers and aging consumers that can’t see or easily operate traditional clasps. Telling a plus-sized consumer that a piece can be adjusted for her can be off-putting, whereas having a selection in a larger size that fits from the outset can spur a sale. For an older consumer having trouble operating tiny clasps, show longer necklaces that can be put on without a clasp or show different “hacks,” such as this trick for putting on a bracelet.
4. Faster shopping. Consumers are impatient, impulsive, and want immediate gratification. The digital world has made them expect that “I want what I want when I want it” will happen.
For jewelers: Even if you can’t immediately get the exact product (especially when it’s personalized, per trend #7,) at least respond and open dialogue immediately. This means monitoring your email social media feeds on a constant basis.
5. Get Real: The Allure of Authenticity. Authenticity is a standout consumer value in 2017, heralded by everyone from changemakers and celebrities to supermarkets and chefs. Authenticity was identified as the key word helping sell items on eBay in 2016, and it’s the cornerstone of many ad campaigns such as Dove personal care products—and the Diamond Producers Association.
For jewelers: what better story is there than that of a real gemstone’s journey from mine to market, or a talisman to mark a family’s history or special occasion?
6. Identity In Flux. Immigration and the refugee crisis are creating questions of national identity; gender identity is at the front of public debate, and diversity is not just theoretical anymore. Identity also becomes a security issue with online data breaches. Still, many consumers aspire to be global and universal brands are still perceived as an opportunity to be a world citizen by their consumers.
For jewelers: The opportunity to tell the story of a gem or jewel’s origin is a way to bring the world closer to your customers; be aware of cultural norms of any ethnic minorities in your community that might be shopping with you.
7. Personalize it. Consumers expect an industrially produced product can be customized or personalized, at least in part—as evidenced by the proliferation of smartphone cases. While there is a lot more personalization of mass-produced items, high-end personalization is also thriving, especially in experiential luxury and the shift from “having” to “being” or “doing.” With a variety of technology, the masses can easily imitate their high-end counterparts, demanding a greater search for differentiation.
For jewelers: Look for ways to create a unique, bespoke experience for your ultra-high-end customers, such as a trip to gem centers or in partnership with your vendors, to their favorite designer’s atelier to watch him or her create their special piece.
8. Post-purchase. In 2017, shoppers will be paying more attention to their post-purchase experience, increasingly an important part of the value of a product or service. Brand willingness to address post-purchase queries and complaints will influence whether a consumer recommends or criticizes it to fellow consumers and considers a repeat purchase. Greater consumer openness to buying “pre-loved” items is also part of the post-purchase ; durability is a more common consumer goal.
Luxury jewelers typically have this one well in hand already but an occasional reminder is always good!
9. Privacy and security. In a volatile world, consumers are anxious to stay safe and well. With focus on personal safety and that of loved ones, there is a greater leaning towards home and mobile cocooning.
For jewelers: Invest in top-level security to protect your customers’ data, and follow your insurance company and Jewelers’ Security Alliance recommendations for ensuring the safety and security of your store, your employees, your shoppers, and yourself.
10. Wellness as a status symbol. Healthy living is becoming a status symbol, as more consumers opt to flaunt their passion for wellness through paying for boutique fitness training, “athleisure” clothing, and upscale health and wellness holidays. Consuming “stuff,” once an indicator of wealth, is now taking a back seat to a lack of excess—be it of fat or things.
For jewelers: whether they’re truly fit or just want to dress the part, “athleisure” clothes are de rigueur for many women. It means stocking more delicate daytime pieces that go with leggings, rather than the gem-intensive black tie pieces that used to typify luxury jewelry. See here and here for more.
Top image: thepeercenter.org