2022 began with uncertainty but took a turn within a few months. With the pandemic withdrawing the economy became resurgent and the gems and jewellery sector too was a part of this resurgence. This was predominantly due to the shift in consumer buying pattern as they were now more inclined to own items that were meaningful and held higher emotional value. With new-age consumers moving to diamonds, owing to their inherent preciousness, there was a greater rise in demand.
Our recent report states that ethical assurances, ‘phygital’ retail strategies, branded offerings and Web3 experiences are key trends shaping how diamond consumers – in particular Gen Z – perceive and engage with diamond jewellery.
So, what were some of the consumer trends witnessed in 2022?
A Positive Shift
Though the year started with uncertainty of another covid wave, it was short-lived and the jewellery sector, particularly diamonds, witnessed a progressive growth thereafter. The demand soared after the pandemic-induced restrictions were lifted and the jewellery industry witnessed a great demand thereafter. Also, the favourable decision from the government in this year’s Union Budget to reduce customs duty on cut and polished diamonds and gemstones further accelerated the growth that was much-needed for the sector. This festive season was one of the strongest as the excitement of celebration resumed in full fervour: after a two-year break this has increased consumer spending, particularly on jewellery.
The Rise of Brands
This is a significant trend noticed in the post-pandemic year. There has been a notable rise among the consumers on the desire to buy jewellery from trusted brands. Branded offerings appealed most to Gen Z consumers, who saw brands as contributing to their sense of self-worth and desire for self-expression. This is more prominent when it comes to emotional purchases like diamonds. Trusted brands give consumers the quality and proven assurance they often seek while also being an expression of uniqueness and personal values. So, its perhaps not surprising that brands have been taking an increasing share of diamond jewellery sales over time.
‘Phygital’ World Gained Strong Prominence
One of the key trends resulting from pandemic was an acceleration of consumer willingness to purchase diamond jewellery online. While diamond jewellery purchases made in-store still outweigh those made online, the full journey of buying diamond jewellery increasingly includes a digital component. It is this melding of the physical and digital retail experiences – ‘phygital’ – that consumers most desired for. Our recent diamond insight report finds out that around half (49%) of all diamond jewellery purchases are now researched online, compared with only 29% in 2015. Of that 49%, 19% of ultimate purchases occurred online while 30% were in-store, highlighting the importance of a seamless ‘phygital’ offering.
The Rise of New Gen-Z Consumer
Another trend the retail industry witnessed this year is the rise of the new generation customers – a young, aspirational population that likes diamonds. The new generation fondly called as Gen-Z, (or those born after 1993) place high importance on brand ethics and corporate responsibility, and now specifically seek information on a brand’s ethical credentials when buying diamond jewellery. What is to be noticed is that they are ‘well-informed consumers’, and will often research and weigh options before making a purchase decision. Products and brands need to show a mixture of value, quality and ethical practices to tap into the Gen Z wallet. They like individualized shopping experiences that can be tailored to their own personal preferences. Also, the younger generations are acutely aware of what’s genuine and what’s not when it comes to brands, publicizing how socially aware they are and place high importance on brand ethics and corporate responsibility.
The Future Is Full of Opportunity
As we enter the new year, it is clear that the traditional considerations for marketing diamond jewellery-design, quality and price are no longer solely sufficient, given consumers’ changing preferences and behaviour. Industry value growth will depend on meeting the evolving needs of new and existing generations in relation to what they want diamonds to say about themselves and how they go about researching them and acquiring them. There is no shortage of opportunity when it comes to natural diamond jewellery. However, it is essential to capture the hearts and minds of consumers, particularly the younger generation.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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