Ok, brace yourself for this! Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the grey-haired, well-heeled folks who are fueling the jewelry industry. It’s the Millennials! Yes, you heard it right, those tech-savvy, avocado toast-loving, Instagram addicts, are actually the most frequent buyers when it comes to bling! It’s true! Recent data has shown that they’re not only catching up with the older generation but are surpassing them in their love for all things sparkly. So next time you hear someone say millennials are killing the jewelry industry, you can confidently tell them they’ve got it all wrong. They’re the ones who are keeping it alive and thriving. Mind. Blown.

So how do we say that you should target millennials? What kind of numbers are we looking at? What kind of jewelry do they want to buy? We’ll give you answers to all of these questions, and even if your target audience isn’t made up of millennials, this article will still be worth reading. So, sit back, relax, and let’s get started!

Why should you target millennials, and how?

There are now 72.12 million millennials in the US workforce. That is the largest group in the working population. You can’t afford to ignore them when creating your marketing mix. They are driving all online luxury sales. By 2025, nearly one-fifth of all luxury sales will occur online. In the same year, online luxury sales will reach USD 91 billion. It will “triple as a proportion of global luxury sales” by 2025.

Now, online jewelry sales are expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.41% from 2020-2027. Revenue is projected to reach USD 60 billion in 2027. Younger shoppers (16-34) make up 62% of all jewelry buyers. Married women in the same age group (25-34) buy the most jewelry. However, high-income older people (45-54) spend the most on jewelry. As millennials continue to rise to positions of power and influence in the workforce, it’s increasingly probable that they will invest more in jewelry in the near future.

So what do they prefer? Millennials have unique preferences when it comes to jewelry. They don’t invest in heavier or more expensive pieces. They prioritize minimalist, customizable designs that align with their personal style. As a result, jewelry brands offering such patterns are more likely to attract and retain millennials.

Currently, the jewelry eCommerce market is valued at USD 22 billion. That means 8.2% of all jewelry sales happen online. This is at a slower rate than the broader market. (19.1% of all retail sales occur online.) There is still huge scope for growth in the jewelry eCommerce segment. And most of this growth can be expected from the millennial market.

You may be concerned that eCommerce does away with the luxury experience of walking into your premium boutique. However, you can provide a personal experience in other ways through technology. Another benefit of jewelry eCommerce for millennials is that comparison shopping becomes very easy.

The US spends the most on jewelry per capita, of all countries with large populations. “The online jewelry market in the United States is valued at USD 8.4 billion. 13.6% of all jewelry sales in the US happen online. … 38.18% of all online sales worldwide occur in the US. This makes US millennials a valuable target group. These high-earning young people are digital natives. Prioritize tech and online sales to meet their needs.

What kind of jewelry are people buying?

Alrighty then, now that we’ve understood what millennials like, let’s dive into what kind of bling are people buying online in general? And, drumroll please… it’s no surprise that engagement rings are the reigning champs of online jewelry sales! Who knew that so many people were popping the question with the help of their computers?

Engagement rings

Engagement rings are a significant segment of the jewelry industry. But did you know that 11% of Americans buy engagement rings online? This cohort is growing. Around 67% buy them at physical jewelry stores.

The most popular jewelry segment by online searches is ‘rings’. Interestingly, the second most popular category is ‘engagement rings’ with an average of 1.8 million monthly searches.

Over 2 million engagement rings were sold in 2022. The engagement ring market is worth around USD 7.6 billion. “Around 33% of couples do their ring-buying research online.” Make ring research and purchase as smooth as possible.

An engagement ring is a once-in-a-lifetime investment with huge sentimental value. Your customers may shop for months before purchase. Offer them a customization tool. Try a 3D design tool like James Allen’s engagement ring builder. It allows customers to design their own ring, from carat to cut to setting. This gives them total control over the creation of their ring.

Another interesting option for your jewelry eCommerce site is a Wedding Ring Matcher tool. Blue Nile’s tool helps customers match their wedding and engagement rings. It lets them choose between matching the wedding ring perfectly or finding a complementary design.

Special pieces and Gifting

Another major jewelry eCommerce category is Gifting. You can create special gifting options on your website, such as:

  • Gifting
  • Gifts for him
  • Gifts under $200
  • Valentine’s Day gifts

You can set up a Gifting Guide, like this one by Mejuri.

Personalized jewelry

Make your gifts special. Offer features such as customization to premiumize the experience. Let them engrave a simple message or name or create a unique piece. Brands such as Catbird already allow buyers to ‘Make it Personal’.

This makes the purchase more meaningful and memorable. They offer curated collections and product recommendations based on past behavior. They also provide gift wrapping and personalized messages.

Sustainable jewelry

Millennials have unique consumption trends that make Sustainable Development Goals more attainable. Their tastes support creating sustainability and equality for all.” Use sustainable materials and conflict-free diamonds. Every major jeweler, from Tiffany & Co. to Blue Nile, commits to using such diamonds.

A smaller brand, Mejuri, commits to responsible sourcing. 80% of the gold that they use is recycled. This is one of their major brand promises.

Prioritize sustainability in your brand promises. You can also offer another sustainable option. Create a marketplace for vintage, pre-loved or refurbished jewelry.

What tools would help you optimize your website?

Immersive experiences

You need to create a unique, sophisticated shopping experience as an online jewelry retailer. The industry pioneers the adoption of new tech for eCommerce. This includes 3D views and live customization.

James Allen’s Ring Studio (which we’ve described in an earlier section) is a great example of 3D customization.

Blue Nile’s tool allows buyers to examine the diamonds they are buying. They rotate and offer 360-degree views. It lets them study the diamond in great detail. This is especially useful for ‘slightly included’ diamonds with minor flaws.

James Allen has a virtual engagement ring try-on tool. It’s an AR tool that lets you try on your favorite rings. Help buyers make informed purchases. This increases post-purchase customer satisfaction.

Robust product information

Surprisingly, buyers get more information about their products from an online store than in-person. Keeping a list and asking dozens of questions about each option in-store is hard. On the other hand, detailed product descriptions answer all the questions upfront. Use high-quality images, zoom and 360-degree photography. This provides information without a magnifying glass or asking too many questions. It also prevents damage to the jewelry.

Technical product descriptions prove seller credibility. It’s hard to get a complete picture with all data (like material, alloy, composition, measurement, cut, clarity, carat, size, etc.) through in-person enquiries.

When you provide robust product data, you improve conversions and reduce returns. “2 out of 3 users leave online stores without buying due to lack of product information.”

Omnichannel marketing

There is more probability of your revenue increasing simply by making yourself available on all channels. Omnichannel marketing increases basket value for both online and offline purchases. Web and mobile channels enable you to offer unique features. Some of these have already been covered:

  • Immersive experiences
  • Customization
  • Detailed product descriptions

With this data, your shoppers can make informed decisions online. They might also visit the store to complete the purchase. Such customers are already well-informed before they arrive. It shortens the purchase cycle and improves customer satisfaction.

If you’re a major legacy brand, you can maintain exclusivity by selling on your own website and selected channels. Video selling (products displayed via live video call) can also personalize the experience. Some brands encourage web visitors to visit a store for purchase. This boosts in-store upselling potential.

Virtual consultations

Let your customers make informed decisions with a Virtual Gemologist. Blue Nile has a live chat that lets shoppers speak with a professional. They answer questions about the jewelry or diamonds. You can also use a Diamond Comparison tool such as this one from James Allen. (It could also be adapted to suit other jewels.)

Create a ‘lookbook’ which lets customers see how to style their jewelry. This can share ideas on the dresses you can pair the pieces with. You can also help them with advice on choosing the jewelry by color, skin tone and durability. This further improves the knowledge of the shopper before purchase. They save time by allowing users to compare products in detail.

Social shopping

Provide customers with a strong review system. Make it easy for customers to share reviews. They can also read reviews from other users. This boosts your credibility.

Invest in a strong presence on social media. This lets you inspire customers and share styling ideas. By building community in this way, you increase eCommerce engagement and repeat purchase.

What do you need to watch out for when setting up your eCommerce website?

Insurance and Order Fulfillment

Jewelry is a heavy investment. Many are reluctant to buy jewelry without a physical study. But this barrier is fading thanks to immersive AR-based tools and video selling.

Generally products like jewelry must be insured during transport and delivery. It’s also likely to be subject to legal restrictions. International purchase and delivery across borders may be a constraint.

Choosing the right kind of technology

As you may have seen, leveraging tech is the best way to create a strong eCommerce experience. The downside is that tech changes. If you choose wrong, you could end up over-exposed to outdated tools. It can become a liability. In addition, capital investment in such AR tools is expensive. Jewelry brands must choose which tools to develop based on customer needs and budget constraints.

Solutions for smaller players

If you’re a craft jeweler, you may find it hard to sustain an eCommerce presence. Marketplaces like Etsy, Artfire and Amazon’s Handmade take a very high fee. This results in unsustainable markups. At the same time, your sales volumes and brand pull may not be strong enough to sustain an eCommerce site. If you are a smaller player, you can reach out to eCommerce solutions experts to figure out what kind of eCommerce platform and brand marketing options are apt for you.

In conclusion, if you are a jewelry merchant, you should target younger jewelry buyers through online sales, marketing and tech. You should get to know what kind of jewelry is sought after most and use the right kind of tools to showcase your products and let customers have a seamless buying experience. Jewelry eCommerce is a great way to set yourself apart from your competition. It lets you create a better-than-store personal experience. Talk to our experts about how to take advantage of these industry trends and address challenges. Get started with your jewelry eCommerce website today!