Another global economic crisis won’t slow expansion in the luxury jewelry and accessories market. Luxury accessories sales are unstoppable. That’s because, even when the luxury industry as a whole reaches an economic stalemate, the diamond industry keeps booming –– fueled by engagement and wedding ring sales.
Fortunately for luxury accessories brands, extreme circumstances often fuel impulsivity. The result? A luxury diamond engagement market that expands when other categories contract. And a luxury accessories industry that is nearly undefeatable.
The fashion pendulum always swings both ways. So, in an era of fast fashion, clickbait and consumerism on autopilot, consumers are seeking out luxury accessories that are resonant and meaningful. Let’s take a look at new ways to provide them.
“Conspicuous consumption” is officially gauche
The luxury accessories industry will reach 40.19 billion by 2031. Sector growth is being accelerated by the rising cost of the precious metals gold and silver. Consumer motivation for buying luxury accessories, however, has evolved significantly. With one of the most noticeable changes being how consumers become motivated to purchase luxury goods.
In a recent Wharton study, analysts found that “conspicuous consumption,” which was once the driving force behind the luxury industry, was no longer en vogue post pandemic. Publicly consuming or flaunting high priced luxury goods to express wealth no longer resonates with would be luxury consumers.
Letting them eat cake just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Not now that the wealth gap is a threat to the health of frontline and delivery workers, who need to have face-to-face interactions with other people to make a living. But this doesn’t mean that there’s not a demand for luxury jewelry shops. Quite the contrary.
Minimalist luxury is the new gold standard
It’s not that there isn’t a demand for luxury jewelry. It’s that, in this day and age, even luxury jewelry needs to sing for its supper. It needs to sing a song of transparent operations, workers that are thriving and well paid, and sustainable production materials. And now that “conspicuous consumption” is a thing of the past, there’s finally room for minimalist luxury accessories to take their rightful throne.
We often talk about how luxury consumers like to make purchases in person. Online retail still only makes up 22% of luxury sales, while monobrand stores –– Tiffany’s, Pandora, Zales, Kay, etc. –– account for 32% of the luxury sector spend. Despite the fact that online sales comprise under a quarter of luxury sector spend, there’s been a huge uptick in D2C entry level luxury jewelry brands.
Minimalist luxury jewelry that gives back is the name of the game in high end accessories this year. Brands like Mejuri and Awe Inspired are geared towards online discovery. The purchasing process begins with consumers stumbling across the brands’ targeted ads on social media. From there, the online jewelry shops’ transparency, ethics, minimalist imagery and affordable price points inspire them to convert.
Top jewelry shop performers of 2022
Despite many luxury brands taking a hit during the pandemic, the personal luxury goods market is still valued at 217 billion euros. But now that flaunting wealth for wealth’s sake is no longer the thing to do, luxury jewelers have had to find alternate methods of reaching customers. Namely, drawing upon data to create targeted ad campaigns.
The role of social media in ring, necklace, jewelry and accessories sales can no longer be ignored. Let’s take a look at how four luxury jewelry heavy-hitters have recently refined their strategies.
Signet Jewelers subsidiary, Kay jewelers, was the highest selling jewelry brand in 2022. Kay sold nearly $3 billion U.S dollars globally last year alone, comprising 38% of Signet’s total revenue. But, like the rest of the luxury jewelry industry, Signet Jewelers had to recover from a 14.9% sales dip in 2021 to get there.
Kay was uniquely positioned to grow during the engagement boom, targeting the “generous sentimentalist” consumer. With the slogan, “every kiss begins with Kay,” the jeweler wisely positioned itself as the destination mid range engagement and wedding ring brand.
Zales also falls under the Signet Jewelers umbrella and, like Kay, Zales targets a mid market consumer. But the similarities end there. Since Signet obtained Zales, the luxury jewelry powerhouse needed a way to distinctly differentiate the brands. Kay was modified to appeal to romantic gifters, whereas Zales was geared towards the self-gifter.
Zales makes up 22% of Signet’s total revenue. Unlike most emerging luxury jewelry brands, Zales’ Mission Statement doesn’t say much about manufacturing practices, sustainability, or giving back to the community… yet. The brand is thus far just focused on being “The Diamond Store” for self gifters.
How did Pandora Jewelry burst free from its sales slump to reach 23% revenue growth during a global pandemic? The answer is complex. Pandora is known for its diverse offerings. Its customizable charm chain bracelets account for 71% of the company’s total sales revenue. Everyone from midwestern moms to Marvel movie enthusiasts love the $25 and up price point for customizable charms –– which can go on bracelets, necklaces, keychains, and more.
Carefully choosing the geographic location of stores has been a core component of Pandora’s recent success. As is innovation: the company is constantly coming out with new launches and iterations. With a new lab grown diamond branch and a burgeoning in-store Macy’s partnership, the megalith isn’t looking to slow down any time soon.
Tiffany’s parent company, LMVH, saw a 22% jewelry and watch revenue boost in 2022. But watches aren’t even the company’s main focus. The legendary brand with the blue boxes has substantially added to its diamond engagement ring collection. Tiffany’s new diamond wedding ring section for men is just the boundary pushing behavior that next gens want to see from luxury engagement and wedding ring brnds.
For a brand with such a storied history, Tiffany has gone above and beyond to remain trend sensitive. Tiffany recently created customized CryptoPunks NFT pendants for asset holders, causing a 248% sales boost in Ethereum NFT. This is foreshadowing. Expect to see the combined power of recognizable luxury jewelry brands and crypto, AI, and AR companies to play a greater role in coming years.
Luxury accessories in 2023 and beyond
Consumer concerns about ethical diamond production will probably cause luxury accessories retailers to change their tune in coming years. It will be fascinating to see the angle each unique jewelry retailer we covered today takes for their mission statement: Small luxury jewelry artisans? Ethical mining? Donating to LGBTQ+ causes? How about a C-Suite diversity report? The sky’s the limit.
Of course, to provide customers with supply chain transparency, luxury accessories brands first need to achieve it internally. Luxury jewelry and accessories retailers work with high price point, high value proposition goods. As such, communicating every single product detail at every level is essential to brands’ ability to lock down high ticket sales.
An all-in-one jewelry PLM solution, like Surefront, can give brands and retailers fast access to the product data that’s essential to make the sale. Every single touchpoint along a product’s lifecycle is visible, trackable, and shareable with anyone inside the organization –– and external partners. Surefront’s jewelry PLM even has a SmartCatalog function, which lets anyone involved in the production and sales process view and make notes on the product in real time. The result? Fewer obstacles. Better decision making. Faster time to market.
Jasmine Glasheen is Content Marketing Manager at Surefront. Glasheen is also a retail thought leader with a special focus on generational purchasing behavior. She has presented her thought leadership at industry events such as: The Ohio State Digital Solutions Gallery, ASD, The Perry Ellis International Sales Conference, Shop.org, the classrooms of NYIT, and many others. Find more of Glasheen’s unique insights at the Surefront Blog or on The Robin Report.
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