London, UK—In tough times, the jewelry industry inevitably falls back on its tried-and-true formula: sell emotion. Image: Cushion-cut halo ring from Forevermark's Exceptional Diamonds collection.
While fashion and self-purchase were rocketing categories—and recent indicators show we shouldn’t count them out—bridal and other milestone celebrations are likely to be the bedrock of jewelers’ sales now and in the immediate future, just as they have been during and after every other recession.
So says the latest Insight Report from De Beers. In a survey of 500 consumers, conducted repeatedly through April and May, respondents indicated the recent quarantine lockdown helped them to better appreciate family and other things they often take for granted. Those who wear diamond jewelry indicated they continued to wear it even at home because it made them feel connected to someone important, and consumers indicated that as the holiday season approaches, 56% of respondents said they believe gifts should be meaningful, rather than “practical”, “functional” or “fun.” Diamonds are the top representation of a holiday gift that symbolizes intimacy, connectedness, and love for both men and women.
Above all, the primary reason for giving diamond jewelry this holiday season reflects a sense of gratitude and acknowledgement for partners—and mothers—during the recent crisis, with male respondents stating, “it would send her a message that she’s important and valued.” Furthermore, three fourths of consumers say that the pandemic has not had an impact on their likelihood to purchase diamond jewelry.
The report also shows consumers are realigning their priorities. 45% of respondents said when it comes to shopping, they’re focusing on owning fewer but better things, and 90% said they want to give a gift that holds its value over time. This tracks with research from Unity Marketing, a Pennsylvania-based market research firm specializing in the luxury market. Unity’s findings show one of the things consumers have been occupying their time with during lockdown is decluttering, a trend that was already in place before the virus hit, but which has accelerated.
Stephen Lussier, De Beers’ executive vice president of consumer and brands, told JCK he believes consumers will be looking for timeless, classic product that express emotion rather than too fashion-forward, but warns jewelers to beware of getting too old-fashioned in their marketing.
“These relationships aren’t just husband and wife,” he said.