COVID-19 appears to have had a positive effect on jewelry sales, with 30% of consumers in a recent survey indicating they bought more jewelry during the pandemic, according to research from supplier group Plumb Club.
“The pendulum has definitely swung from experiential shopping to material shopping,” says Lawrence Hess, executive director of the Plumb Club. “My personal opinion is that the industry is in a much better place than where it was before the pandemic.”
The survey, titled “The Plumb Club Industry & Market Insights 2021”, also found that 49% of consumers were buying as much jewelry as they always had, while 21% were buying less.
Given that many brick-and-mortar stores have been closed for months, 72% of consumers said they bought jewelry online, and a surprising 39% said spending so much time at home prompted them to buy. Following jewelry. One reason for the increase: When people were working from home and attending virtual meetings, 41% wanted to wear jewelry that could be seen on screen.
“The pandemic has accelerated the trend towards digital like crazy,” says Michael O’Connor, Marketing Director of the Plumb Club. “People had no choice but to shop online.”
Yet the survey also found that, all things being equal, nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) prefer to shop for jewelry in stores, with 25% specifically calling out independent jewelers. Only 28% preferred to buy online.
Even then, a retailer’s website remains the top influencer driving purchases, according to the survey, cited by 33% of respondents. “Family and friends” was ranked as the second biggest influencer, chosen by 30%, and social media advertising was ranked third, with 14%.
“The big lesson for me is that retailers need to get their website in order, and they need to get their social media in order,” says O’Connor.
The survey also revealed that the average price for a jewelry purchase was $1,207, higher than in previous years. Additionally, 57% of respondents said the availability of financing would influence their purchase decision, which Hess calls one of the most surprising findings of the survey.
As for what consumers look for in jewelry, 31% mentioned quality, 23% mentioned design, and 17% mentioned uniqueness. Price came in fourth, at 16%.
“People buy quality,” says Hess. “There has been a shift in the consumer as to what something means. Coping with mortality changes people’s psyches. Consumers were looking for meaningful items.
As for why they bought jewelry, 48% of respondents said it was for a special occasion, 23% said there was “no necessary reason”, 12% did as a personal reward, 8% bought when they saw similar articles about celebrities or in magazines, and 8% bought after seeing similar articles about friends.
Additionally, 72% of respondents said they would pay more for a sustainably sourced part, and 26% said they would pay “a lot” more for such a part.
“The jewelry industry feels like it’s a cocoon and [sustainability and social responsibility] doesn’t matter,” Hess says. “But it matters to the consumer, and they’re willing to put money into it. It’s not just lip service.
Some 65% of consumers said they usually wear jewelry at home. A surprising 44% said the lockdown had not changed how often they wore jewelry, with 23% telling the pollster they actually wore it Following. Only 33% said they wear jewelry less often.
As for what exactly consumers wore at home, 39% said they primarily wore rings. However, 62% of consumers said they bought necklaces and earrings to improve their online and virtual image.
the to study was commissioned by the Plumb Club and led by Futurist founder Paola DeLuca and data company Qualtrics. She surveyed 1,049 men and women, ages 25 to 60, focusing on 10 US markets. All respondents had attended college or more and had a combined household income of at least $75,000.
Additional reporting by Rob Bates
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