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CIBJO Urges Trade to Woo Gen Z-ers

Sep 15, 2019 10:07 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Understanding the newest generation of jewelry-buying consumers is imperative for the industry to thrive, the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) stressed last week ahead of its upcoming congress in Bahrain.

Members of Generation Z, which includes consumers aged 15 to 25, will spend approximately $143 billion this year, and are the drivers of future sales growth, CIBJO said in a special report.

It is “absolutely critical [to] understand Generation Z and the implications that this giant consumer group holds for our businesses and our industry,” Jonathan Kendall, president of CIBJO’s marketing and education commission and president of De Beers’ Institute of Diamonds, explained in a special report. “The future success of the jewelry industry will depend on our understanding the needs and wants of Generation Z.”

Most importantly, social media plays a huge part in Generation Z-ers’ lives, Kendall pointed out, noting that the industry needed to prioritize marketing by social media over more traditional methods. Jewelers should also focus on offering mentorship and networking opportunities to those consumers, 40% of whom would like to become entrepreneurs. About half of those want to invent something revolutionary.

“Get this right and we can all look forward to strong, profitable years moving forward,” Kendall noted. “Get it wrong and we could be destined for the scrap heap — not overnight maybe, but ultimately.”

Secondhand shopping is also a popular trend with Generation Z, whose members are more financially savvy and appreciate sustainability. The industry for previously owned clothes, shoes and accessories has risen 46% over the past two years, Kendall continued, with demand for secondhand goods expected to push the resale sector to $51 billion by 2023. Members of the jewelry industry can capitalize on this trend by reworking old jewelry to produce new, sustainable pieces, offer vintage-jewelry items alongside their own new merchandise, or collaborate with vintage brands to create retro products with a contemporary spin.

“As an industry we sit in a really positive place for reusing,” Kendall added. “But we need to market this aspect of our offering in a new way, so this generation will buy our products enthusiastically.”

Kendall also urged jewelers to create gender-neutral pieces and use diverse models in different sizes, colors and ages to reflect real life better, noting that authenticity was a big selling point for Generation Z buyers. In addition, pop-up stores can help brands create a local name for themselves and build familiarity, increasing word-of-mouth opportunities.

“Since jewelry is often entwined with life’s milestones, like graduation and marriage, getting Gen Z to share their experiences with friends is a huge opportunity,” Kendall explained.

Social responsibility is also high on the Generation Z agenda, and the group expects brands to do good things and support those in need in their local communities, in addition to being environmentally friendly.

“Gen Z is coming to our markets very soon, if it has not already arrived in reality,” Kendall emphasized. “So we better get them on our side if we want to enjoy a rosy future.”

CIBJO will present these points in greater detail at its congress in Bahrain in November.

Image: Generation Z using social media. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: CIBJO, Generation Z, Jonathan Kendall, Rapaport News, World Jewellery Confederation
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