Some might think that the millennials are materialistic. This is thanks in part to the rise in social media use that cultivated the “showing off” culture. However, recent data suggests otherwise.
According to news features, millennials are now killing the diamond industry along with a bunch of others. Additional reports have stated that this affects the high-end jewelry industry, as well.
The fact is that the times today are a lot different than before. Aside from that, though, what are the real reasons why they're veering away from high-end jewelers?
Millennials are marrying at a later age compared to previous generations. This means they also delay buying engagement rings. This then affects the diamond and the whole jewelry market as marriage is the key driver of the industry.
According to the Census Bureau, the average first-time bride today is about 28 years old. About 10 years in the past, the average was 25.5 years old. The average first-time groom is 30 years old compared to 27 years old also 10 years earlier.
This can become a huge hit for jewelers, especially when millennials who aren’t married yet would rather spend their money on other things.
Millennials are spending less, whether it’s on homes, retail, new cars, and such. This is due to the simple fact that they have less money to spend, according to the Federal Reserve.
They have less wealth in general, having lower income and fewer assets. Baby boomers and Generation X, as per the collected data, have a higher income.
For this reason, millennials may be more careful about where they spend their money on. They may be more attentive to the brands they buy and the types of items they can afford.
As such, they prefer more practical alternatives to high-end products. After all, some expensive items don’t have much benefit other than the brand name.
It helps that they’re the first tech-savvy generation. Having direct access to the internet means they can compare prices, look for better deals, and so on.
Millennials would rather spend their money on experiences rather than material things. They would rather take a vacation in another part of the world than to buy expensive jewelry, for example. As such, they save their money for these experiences and not for things they can own, except for gadgets.
Gadgets are practical today; laptops, smartphones, and cameras enhance their experience. Not to mention that they’re a necessity for work and they make lives easier, too. This is why even though millennials are not big on material things, gadgets are an exception.
This generation is also more eco-conscious than the ones before them due to their easy access to information. They're some of the most active ones in pushing for a global change in waste management.
Not only that, but they are also making small changes within themselves to help, as well. This includes using glass or metal straws in favor of disposable straws and being critical of companies with questionable ethics.
As you know, diamond mining is in a lot of hot water over its impact on the environment. Those who only support companies that are in line with their ethics would then think twice before buying diamond jewelry.
Nonetheless, it’s not as if millennials don’t have much of a choice regarding jewelry. There are plenty of alternatives in the market. Today, there are even lab-grown diamonds that are starting to hurt the industry.
One of the most notable things about lab-grown ones is that it’s hard to tell it apart from natural diamonds. Even professionals might not be able to tell by its looks alone.
The most important advantage it has, however, is that it has less impact on the environment. Its process is more sustainable, and you won’t have to worry about the whole “blood diamonds” issue. It’s cheaper to an extent, too, and it might only get cheaper as the technology becomes more advanced.
As this generation also likes breaking tradition, many are now considering other gems in their jewelry pieces than sparkling white crystals. Ruby, emerald, and amethyst rings are popular for their rich colors. Sapphire is also a popular choice as it comes in different hues, including pink, yellow, and such.
If you want something that looks like a diamond, moissanite might be the one for you. It’s almost as hard as diamond, it’s clear as a diamond, but it doesn’t come with the price tag of a diamond. People even mistook it for diamonds when they first discovered it.
Another reason why millennials are deviating from luxury jewelry brands is that the brands themselves are failing to market to them the proper way.
This generation prefers cheaper options. That's not the main reason why luxury brands are failing, though. The only reason might be that some high-end brands don’t have the right appeal.
For instance, even if some millennials have the money, they may choose smaller brands. The internet is also useful for them in this regard. They have access to more options other than the popular ones from the past centuries.
Jewelers may have to update their brand to be more modern and contemporary to attract the younger crowd. Their stores will need updating as well to expand customer awareness. All these are possible without losing the luxury brand.
Still, it’s not a guaranteed solution as millennials, as we stated above, value function and technology over things like shiny jewelry.
With that said, millennials still see the value in nice-looking things. This is why brands that look luxurious and like they come from high-end jewelers yet have affordable price tags are especially attractive to them. There are still timeless jewelry pieces out there that don’t break the bank.
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