As for sales? Well, consumers are increasingly comfortable shopping online for jewellery—more so since the pandemic—and are much more likely to make high-ticket purchases online than five years ago. According to Gartner L2, the share of online sales across the US and Western European jewellery sales doubled over 2019 to the detriment of brick-and-mortar brands. More than 1 in 20 US jewellers stopped trading in 2018, according to the Jewellers’ Board of Trade (JBT), as companies were forced to either consolidate or close their doors. The UK industry—despite suffering tough trading conditions on the UK high street, not helped by 2020’s lockdowns—still looks to be thriving, largely due to the enduring demand for luxury goods. Even during a pandemic.
But mid-market jewellery brands and retailers are too suffering from declining footfall and consumer uncertainty, and the competition from niche independent brands is rising. Specialist retailers and brands must, therefore, work much harder to stand out from the crowd, avoiding the fate of retailers like Links of London, who succumbed to the threats in 2019.
But despite the fragility of the high street, purchasing of jewellery has gone up: two-thirds of people in the UK have bought jewellery or watches for themselves or someone else within the past five years, which is an increase of 5% in comparison to 2018.
Factors cited as contributors to the global growth of the market include a growing number of digital buyers, an increasing female population, an increasing middle-class population and growing tourism. That said, there are challenges in the form of declining rough-diamond mine supplies, e-Commerce fraud and even delayed marriages.
So what jewellery market trends can we expect to see in 2021 and beyond? How can brands understand the drivers and behaviours from different demographics in order to form effective growth strategies?
Top Jewellery Market Trends: 2021 & Beyond
Life is short. Buy the ring 💍
In March and April 2020, amid early pandemic store closures, retail jewellery sales in the U.S fell by $3.8billion compared to the same period in 2019. Once lockdowns eased in mid-late summer though, it was a different story. Sales grew by $1billion year over year: in no small part, attributable to engagement rings.
The pandemic made people reevaluate their priorities. And some of those who were due to be married in 2020/21 put the savings into upgrading their ring.
Fine jewellery’s main competitor – travel – was off-limits in 2020 and early 2021, meaning affluent couples had more disposable income than usual.
But with nearly a third (32%) of women disappointed in the engagement ring chosen by their partner, some jewellers are offering solutions to ensure that customers find The One. With Clarity, which stocks both natural and lab-grown diamonds, offers 3D-printing technology to create a replica ring to try before making a commitment.
The pandemic influenced consumer tastes in rings, with a notable rise in minimalist, timeless styles. It seems this period of uncertainty led to a desire for rational purchases to offset the sense of unease.
How might this manifest as weddings and events begin to start up again? It remains to be seen, but for now, it looks as though people are still up for seizing the moment.