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Jewelers Need a 'De Beers Home Run' to Attract Millennials

Apr 23, 2014 8:48 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... De Beers marked a huge success for the jewelry industry when "Diamonds Are Forever" convinced post-WWII consumers in the U.S. to celebrate an engagement milestone  with a diamond. And while this tagline worked very well for years to come, signs that the millennial generation don't buy into it presents an opportunity for jewelers to change the conversation, according to Unity Marketing.

"Millennials just aren't buying the traditional jewelry marketing paradigm that worked for previous generations.  They need messages that are relevant to their lifestyles and a generation that is delaying, even foregoing, marriage in growing numbers doesn't necessarily care about researching the 4Cs or spending three month's salary on a chunk of pressurized charcoal," said Pam Danziger, the president of Unity Marketing.

What type of jewelry looks great with a tattoo? What jewelry piece for $700 would bring as much pleasure to  a millennial as the latest phone, tablet or gadget? Danziger said that jewelers must discover how to change the conversation, so that buying jewelry is as fresh and exciting as the latest iPhone. Unity Marketing recently published the results of its study, "Marketing Jewelry to Millennials: How to Sell Luxury Jewelry to the Next Generation of Affluents."

Millennials are avoiding luxury jewelry purchases in part because jewelry brands are failing to speak in a way that connect with affluent consumers between the ages of 14 to 34, according to Unity Marketing. The group found that  millennials with incomes of $100,000 a year or more derive far more pleasure from their technology purchases than they do from buying fine jewelry.  For example, some 46 percent of millennials said buying technology is a category that gives them great pleasure, as compared with 25 percent who felt the same about jewelry.  This finding is particularly relevant to jewelers since the commitment to pre-purchase research and spending levels are very similar for technology and jewelry, the research found.

Some successful brands in this space include Hearts on Fire, which, according to Unity Marketing, is innovating to change the entire jewelry shopping experience through simple yet ground-breaking strategies, such as  placing the sales person and the customer on the same side of the display case.  "Millennials want their purchase experience to feel more like a collaboration and less like a confrontation," Danziger said.

Fine jewelry need no longer be confined to hushed studios, hidden price tags and complicated information for it must become a  fun and engaging experience, or the millennial consumer will walk right past the jewelry store and on to the next tech device, Danziger concluded.

The latest report also addresses the challenge for luxury brands to become inspirational to the next generation, who collectively bring a unique functional and practical approach to their shopping behavior.

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Tags: Jeff Miller, jewelers, Jewelry, Millennials, Shopping, Unity Marketing
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