Driven largely by fine jewellery, jewellery registered strong growth in both retail value and volume sales in the US throughout 2018 and 2019. Bucking the trend towards spending on goods over experiences, consumers increasingly purchased fine jewellery over costume jewellery thanks to a perceived increase in usage occasions for jewellery as a result of casualisation.
An array of trends, including casualisation, female empowerment and the rise of social shopping, have transformed consumers’ relationship with jewellery in recent years. As a result of the casualisation of dress codes in work and social spaces alike, many consumers no longer feel the need to restrict jewellery wear to formal occasions, increasingly wearing both fine and costume jewellery as everyday accessories.
As consumers increasingly demand ethically- and sustainably-made products, lab-grown diamonds are gaining popularity as a conscious and cost-effective alternative to mined diamonds. As a result, jewellery players spanning from multinational diamond producers to local boutiques and venture-capital-backed start-ups have begun to sell lab-grown diamonds in the US with varying marketing messages.
New York-based Tiffany & Co continued to lead jewellery in 2018 as the fine jewellery maker best known for its sterling silver products saw success in its efforts to revitalise its domestic business by courting younger consumers. Activities, including the debut of new product lines, the refreshing of existing ones and the “Believe” advertising campaigns, which featured interracial and same-sex couples as well as younger celebrities including Elle Fanning and Zoë Kravitz, all helped to attract new customers to the storied brand, while retaining the existing customers.
Jewellery makers are increasingly communicating the origins of their products and materials to consumers, in response to both mounting consumer demand for ethical and sustainable business practices as well as increased pressure from government regulators. In early 2019 Tiffany & Co revealed its Diamond Source Initiative, through which it plans to communicate the provenance of all diamonds exceeding 0.
Internet retailing continued to be the fastest-growing distribution channel for both fine and costume jewellery, as brands and retailers alike expanded their e-commerce product assortments in accordance with consumers’ increasing comfort purchasing valuable items online. For fine jewellery, wide product selections and the ability to “make your own jewellery” helped to make pure-play online jewellery retailers Allurez and Blue Nile popular, while, for costume jewellery, Amazon increased its offering, including through its own private label lines.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Jewellery market research database.