Written by: Rachael Ryan
Millennials are the most researched subgroup of the 21st century - and yet, they still seem to be misunderstood. Everyone wants to know more and more about the generation. Who are millennials and why are they so sought after?
Millennials are technically anyone born between 1982 and 2002, but most importantly they are the buying generation. They’re taking over from the Baby-Boomers who are retiring both from work and they’re hanging up their consumer shoes too. Despite marketers obsessing over millennials, they are still often dumbfounded by them. Just when marketers think they have them all figured out, millennials change their habits and leave everyone bewildered.
For example, millennials were buying luxury goods such as fine jewelry. Millennials spent $26 billion on diamonds in 2015. But since then, the attitudes of affluent millennials has changed. 6.2 million millennial households earn more than $100,000 a year and they will take over the luxury consumer market by 2018-2020 - that means they need to be understood and luxury brands need to research them in order to appease this headstrong generation.
Market research is invaluable in this situation; here are a few speculations as to why millennials have become indifferent to the opulence of luxury jewelry brands.
Millennials are incredulous towards big luxury brands. They want to pay big bucks for an individual experience rather than a brand that everyone has. The generation prior to millennials would pay vast amounts of money to have luxury, classic pieces of jewelry to display their wealth and standing in society. Millennials are not purchasing fine jewelry, they are more interested in spending the same money on a one-of-a-kind, once in a lifetime experiences.
Milestone purchases. Millennials don’t want a piece of jewelry to define them - they want sentiment behind it. Most millennials will only buy a luxury good as a milestone or to mark an occasion, while this has always been partially the case - it is now the sole selling point of luxury jewelry. Millennials are not likely to impulse buy a luxury item; there must be a deeper level of emotion attached to a piece. This is why luxury jewelry brands such as Pandora are so popular - each piece is unique to the owner and every part of the piece has a story to tell that is exclusive to the person wearing it.
Technology is a new luxury. The number of millennials that own a fitness watch and the number of millennials that have a classic wrist watch are almost equal. This is a two-sided argument, if you want your luxury brand to be successful then your brand needs to have a successful online presence that resonates with this savvy generation. Millennials read on average 13.9 reviews online before buying a product, and they normally only buy products that have been recommended by loved ones or people they trust.
There are many other factors that come into play here; millennials get married later in life and their engagement ring is ordinarily their introduction to fine jewelry purchasing, millennials are experience oriented and want to be unique, therefore often look for one-of-a-kind jewelry that has a story behind it, among other reasons.
For more information on changing jewelry trends, read the Principal of Provoke Insights, Carly Fink’s article on the growing demands on the brown diamond industry.