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Millennials value jewellery less than boomers

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Unity Marketing president Pam Danziger

Millennials, consumers aged 24-34, don’t value jewellery as much as previous generations, according to a new survey by US-based Unity Marketing.

The company’s study of 1335 affluent consumers with incomes of US$100,000 or more found that jewellery purchases gave Millennials less “personal enjoyment” than seven other popular luxury purchases.

The Millennials gave jewellery purchases an average rating of just 63 (in an index where 100 equates to an average level of personal enjoyment) – cultural events received an average rating of  90; fashion and clothing (90); entertainment events (102); technology tools and gadgets (115); gourmet food (123); fine dining (140) and travel and hotels (156).

Pam Danziger, author of the Marketing to Millennials: How to Sell Luxury Jewelry to the Next Generation of Affluents report said young adults “aren’t buying the traditional jewellery marketing paradigm” that worked for previous generations.

“More than half a century ago, DeBeers hit a home run by convincing the returning WWII veterans eager to settle down and get married to mark the milestone of their engagement with a diamond,” she said.

“The ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ tagline worked well for that generation, which in turn gave birth to the gigantic Baby Boomer generation. And it worked equally well for the Boomers in the 70s and 80s, but the signs are that it isn’t working so well for the babies of the Baby Boomers − the Millennials.

“Millennials just aren’t buying the traditional jewellery marketing paradigm…

“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.

“These Millennials would much rather drop $700 on the latest phone or tablet computer, than on a new pair of earrings or cuff links,” she said.

“Marketers and retailers need to discover how to change the conversation, so that buying jewellery is as fresh and exciting as the latest iPhone.”

“The problem facing jewellers is how to communicate with Millennials to reassure them they already have the skills needed to buy fine jewellery and that doing so is just as cool as buying the latest techno-gadget.”

Unity’s report examines the jewellery buying behaviours of the Millennial generation and offers “actionable advice on how to position a jewellery brand to reach these important consumers”.

It includes profiles of “successful jewellery brands like Hearts on Fire, which is innovating to change the entire jewellery shopping experience through simple yet ground-breaking strategies, like putting the sales person and the customer on the same side of the display case.

“Millennials want their purchase experience to feel more like collaboration and less like a confrontation,” Danziger says.

“Fine jewellery need no longer be confined to hushed studios, hidden price tags, and complicated information. For the Millennials it can be − it has to be − fun and engaging, or they will walk right past the jewellery store and on to the next tech device.

“The problem for jewellery marketers isn’t that Millennials are rejecting diamond engagement rings, but marketers need to talk with the next generation in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their lifestyles. That ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ tagline has lost meaning for a generation that has heard the widely-quoted ’50 percent of all marriages end in divorce’ statistics and often times has experienced it in their families growing up.”