Once upon a time, selling bridal jewelry was one of the easiest choices a jewelry retailer could make. After all, everyone gets married eventually…right? And all of those people will need engagement rings, wedding bands, and more. Almost every jewelry retailer has a bridal department; some stores are exclusively focused on wedding jewelry.
However, this article from Rob Bates of JCK Marketplace may have you re-thinking your current approach to bridal jewelry. There are several factors at play: a flat marriage rate that is expected to decline after 2020, difficult economic circumstances limiting the amount younger couples have to spend on bridal jewelry, and a graying population – a major demographic shift as Baby Boomers enter retirement.
Bates identifies several qualities that Baby Boomers have that may make them much more appealing customers than the cash-strapped Millennials and Gen Xers who you’ve been trying to sell bridal jewelry to. First and foremost, they have more disposable income. Second, they’re more likely to see fine jewelry as a romantic, rewarding purchase, while younger generations are increasingly saying “I love you, honey” with a new smartphone, tablet or other high tech item. Finally, some Baby Boomers will be celebrating major milestone anniversaries: this is the time of life when 40th and 50th anniversaries happen.
Now I’d like you to think about your customer base. How old are the customers you see regularly? Who are you selling the most jewelry to? Is what you’re observing in your stores reflective of the trends Rob Bates identified in his article?
If the answer to that question is yes, then it’s time to consider how this impacts your store’s approach to bridal jewelry. I’m not suggesting you stop selling bridal – after all, you already have extensive experience and infrastructure built up around diamonds, engagement rings, wedding bands and more – but instead, expand your idea of who your target customer is.
Rather than focusing exclusively on reaching the 25-40 year old customer, consider what strategies you can use to connect more effectively with the older bride, as well as those couples who are celebrating milestone anniversaries. Putting an increased emphasis on anniversary bands as well as reminding customers about the possibility of upgrading or redesigning their bridal jewelry are also smart ideas.
Bear in mind that this demographic shift won’t last forever – and hopefully the dire economic straits younger customers are facing will also resolve shortly as well. But until things get back to ‘normal’, we still need to make money – so think about approaching your bridal department a little differently!