De Beers: Retailers Must Jump on Millennium Opportunity

September 10, 1999

De Beers: Retailers Must Jump on Millennium Opportunity

Retail sales associates must be prepared to suggest to male shoppers that they buy diamonds to celebrate the millennium. Men will need that extra nudge to be convinced, even with all of De Beers' millennium advertising, says Stephen Lussier, divisional director of the Consumer Marketing Division of De Beers Central Selling Organisation. Lussier delivered a speech at this week's polished diamond marketing conference held in Israel.

De Beers' chief marketer says its research shows women need little excuse to have another diamond, but men are more skeptical. Lussier worries that not enough of the trade believes in the millennium opportunity for diamonds and might see the moment pass them by. "If that attitude prevails at the point of sale, sales will not be made," he says. Lussier also stresses that, in general, jewelers need to focus more on selling to the consumer and competing with other luxury goods rather than on competition within the trade.

"We all need to wake up in the morning and be thinking about the consumer in Tokyo, Toronto or Toledo rather than the dealer in Tel Aviv," he says. "The main drive should be to increase overall the ad dollars spent on promoting diamonds." Other luxury products spend between 6% and 20% of retail sales on advertising and marketing, he says, while the jewelry industry only spends about 1% overall on advertising diamonds.

- by Peggy Jo Donahue