It’s 2018, people! And yet, I feel like the jewelry industry still acts as if we’re in the 1950’s. So let me say this loud and clear: Women purchase jewelry for themselves! A lot! And I’m not just talking about picking up a pair of earrings at the mall. Women are buying expensive jewelry for themselves.
America is still the leading nation of consumers (although Asia is closing in on us fast!). And women are the best consumers of all. With successful careers and disposable income, we’re living our best lives! And that includes jewelry. So wake up, jewelry industry! We are changing the marketplace. And we have some new rules.
The old way
Back in the day, there was a time-tested and traditional way that women acquired jewelry. It was …. surprise, surprise…. from men. Men bought it for them. And men got it from specific places. A retail storefront. So you have this story that’s created about how women get jewelry over the course of their lifetimes. And it starts with an engagement ring. Your fiancé picked it out from his favorite jewelry retailer, and over the many years of your happy marriage he went back over and over again, especially around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, to purchase special pieces of jewelry for his lovely wife.
Today, there are lots of things that just don’t work with that model anymore. The biggest thing for me that’s blazingly obvious is that women like to pick out their own jewelry, instead of having it chosen for them. I know I feel this way! I love my husband, and he has lots of great attributes. But I would always prefer to pick out my own jewelry. My feeling is that jewelry is personal, and reflects my personality, my style, and my creativity. I would always rather pick out pieces for myself.
The other problem with the old story is online shopping. Because it’s huge! You can certainly still get your jewelry from a retail storefront, but you don’t have to. Lots of ladies, yours truly included, are big online shoppers! More on this later….
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The power of power
Let’s talk about how much purchasing power us females actually have. Because it’s pretty significant. On a global scale, we control $20 TRILLION in annual consumer spending, including jewelry. That’s almost a third of the world’s wealth. And bigger than the combined gross domestic products (GDP) of India and China. You know, two of the world’s largest countries!
All of that purchasing power has changed the game in the realm of jewelry. The biggest thing is that jewelry isn’t tied to specific holidays or events anymore. This doesn’t mean that people aren’t buying jewelry for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, etc. It just means that you don’t need an event. Women are purchasing jewelry just because they want to! Jewelry marketing execs refer to the this particular type of purchase as a “just because purchase.” The biggest just-becausers – professional women over the age of 45.
This may not seem like a big deal but it really is. Between this and the fact that women are buying their own jewelry, we are on the verge of having the jewelry industry cater to us, and our preferences. Which is pretty exciting! A recent survey showed that over half of all women who bought jewelry were simply treating themselves. Another report said that over 50% of American women buy themselves non-occasion-based jewelry. And almost a quarter of American women purchase jewelry for themselves at least once a year.
Of course, you don’t need surveys to tell you this. All you need to do is observe what you and your own friends are doing!
Jewelry marketing executives frequently talk about the “self-purchasing female.” We and all of our purchasing power are making such a tremendous difference that we are given our own moniker! But there’s real truth there. Women are working more than ever before, and we’re earning more money than ever before. We’re single for longer, and have kids later, all things that mean we have more money to spend on ourselves. Yeah, baby!
Ladies have been purchasing their own jewelry for a while now, but no one pays attention unless you say “millennial,” so guess what? De Beers recently discovered that one third of all millennial women bought jewelry for themselves in 2015. And that number is only going up.
Also, it looks like women shop differently than men. First, they focus on the gemstone (amethyst, citrine, and blue topaz are trending right now), then design, and lastly, the cost. Women are also very interested in what the industry calls “responsibly sourced pieces.” Yep, we want to know where our jewelry comes from.
The last little gem? It turns out, even if we’re not buying the jewelry ourselves, we’re heavily involved when someone else buys it for us. That’s called influence, people!
For the longest time, the jewelry industry had pooh-poohed online shopping. They really felt their product was something that needed to be experienced in the store. It was far too personal to be bought on the internet. Especially if it was expensive. Unfortunately for them, those two assumptions have turned out to be false, and right now the jewelry folks are playing some serious catch-up.
The online shopping experience for the consumer has just gotten better and better as time has gone by. It’s easier, more secure, and far more common. Two years ago, my mother wouldn’t buy things online because she was worried about someone stealing her credit card number. Not anymore. Now she buys things online without a second thought! And so do lots of other people.
Even with expensive jewelry, e-retailers are doing lots of things to make consumers feel more comfortable. They offer generous return policies, free shipping, and amazing customer service. People will spend top dollar if they’re in an environment they trust. Right now, fine jewelry online is only about 10% of the e-commerce marketplace. But expect that number to jump rapidly in the coming years.
<img class=" wp-image-4786 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2912.jpg" alt="Earrings in 18K gold from Temple St. Clair" width="415" height="415" srcset="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2912.jpg 1080w, https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2912-150x150.jpg 150w, https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2912-300x300.jpg 300w, https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2912-768x768.jpg 768w, https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2912-1024x1024.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 415px) 100vw, 415px" /> Earrings in 18K gold from Temple St. Clair
Again, you don’t need surveys and studies to tell you this. Look at your own shopping behavior, and notice what your friends do. We’re all doing more online. I read somewhere than adults spend up to six hours a day on their phones! The sad thing was, that number didn’t really surprise me,,,,
Women lead the way
Although it’s long overdue, I’m excited to see changes based on our input and feedback. What kind of things would you like to see? Let me know in the comments..