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Unlocking the Gen Z Code to Revolutionise Jewellery Sales.

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Gen Z accounted for just over 23% of the world’s population in 2023. Understanding these consumers is not an easy task, as they are significantly different to their predecessors, have contradictory attitudes, and change preferences quickly.

The jewellery industry is still trying to determine how to respond to the changing nature of Gen Z’s preferences and habits. With its purchasing power and influence set to increase, adapting to its demands becomes more relevant than ever to maintain or accelerate growth.

Jewellery surpasses pre-pandemic levels, but growth remains moderate

Following the deceleration in 2022, global jewellery sales saw faster growth in 2023 and surpassed 2019 levels by 4%

Source: Euromonitor International

However, growth remains significantly lower than the robust 24% of 2021. Even more concerning is the fact that growth is driven mainly by price increases, as volume (unit) sales grew by only 1% and are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2027.Chart showing evolution of the jewellery industry

Worries surrounding the cost of living and consumers being cautious about their spending suggest that further price increases may not be well received. In this scenario, jewellery players need to pivot their focus towards attracting Gen Z, fostering increased consumption and accelerating growth.

The Gen Z jewellery consumers: Complex and demanding

Although differences exist across regions, there are some common characteristics the industry must take note of regarding these consumers based on Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles and Sustainability Surveys.

20% of Gen Z selected “on-trend” as a key feature in apparel and personal accessories vs the 15% global average. This trend-orientated cohort values the ability to shop for multiple aesthetics across fine and costume offerings, building a jewellery wardrobe they can pick and choose from to express their daily mood. This on-trend focus supports more frequent shopping rates, as they seek products to help them explore and showcase their personal style. 58% of Gen Z bought some fashion item at least three times last year, compared to only 41% of Baby Boomers.

Gen Z are more digitally engaged than previous generations, with higher rates of social media usage (60% vs 51% global average) underscoring the importance of establishing a digital presence, even while store-based channels dominate distribution. TikTok is a key medium for this cohort, with the potential to be a less intimidating first touchpoint for consumers interested in fine jewellery.Graphic profiling the Gen Z jewellery shopper

Our Sustainability Survey’s findings highlight mixed behaviour among Gen Z regarding sustainability. Although 55% of Gen Z consumers surveyed in 2023 were worried about climate change, 25% are unsure of what features to look for and 18% viewed a lack of trust in sustainable product claims as a barrier for sustainable purchasing. Efforts are needed to align the industry and Gen Z, with mission-based brands finding success with education and community-building efforts.

Lower levels of feeling accepted in their identity (59% for Gen Z vs 67% global average) may also support the search for brands that champion a more diverse and representative world

Source: Euromonitor International

This, coupled with the fact that the upper end of Gen Z is already encroaching on the average age of first marriage (25 years old for women, 28 for men globally in 2022), is likely to challenge the bridal industry with a new way of thinking and shopping, not only for the bride and groom, but for wedding attendants as well.

Jewellery brands need to be agile, adaptable and highly attuned to the latest trends

Uncertainty is set to continue, further challenging the industry. In this scenario, macro trends take priority over industry-specific themes for industry professionals.

Over half of fashion professionals consider “inflation and cost of living crisis” as the top trend impacting sales in the next five years

Source: Euromonitor’s Voice of the Industry Survey 2023

35% of Gen Z consumers look for “low price” and 39% for “value for money” when buying apparel and personal accessories, making it tempting to focus on price-driven strategies. However, to reach and retain Gen Z consumers for the long term, “values” are more important.Chart showing trends impacting jewellery sales

To engage with these consumers, the jewellery industry must be agile, adaptable and attuned to the latest fashion and lifestyle trends. Trend monitoring, rapid design and production cycles, responsive inventory management, limited editions and exclusive drops, a strong online and social media presence, collaboration with influencers, collaboration with other brands or industries, and feedback and consumer involvement are some strategies that can help jewellery brands be aware of and respond quickly to Gen Z’s changing wants and needs.

Most importantly, Gen Z-ers want to express their individualism and want their voices to be heard. They want to feel a genuine connection when engaging with brands. For these consumers, overall loyalty is more value- and purpose-based, and they tend to relate more to brands that support their causes.

The fact that in five years from now Gen Z will represent over a fifth of consumers reinforces the importance for jewellery brands to understand this cohort and adapt their offerings accordingly.

Read our Selling Jewellery to Gen Z: Opportunities and Challenges report and Five Ways Gen Z Is Transforming Luxury and Fashion article for more analysis on the Gen Z consumers.

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