JCOC Details Consumer Buying Trends for Holiday 2004

July 22, 2004

JCOC Details Consumer Buying Trends for Holiday 2004

In a wide-ranging live seminar presentation July 22, held online and by phone, MVI Marketing's Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council presented the findings from its latest consumer research, conducted in June. Among the key findings were that 87% of shoppers admit they shop for themselves while shopping for others during the holiday season. MVI CEO Liz Chatelain advised retailers on the call to bring up self-purchases with every customer. The research also shows clearly that many more men are wearing jewelry these days – especially watches, non-bridal rings and neckwear. But they need retailers to take the category more seriously and stock a better selection of merchandise, including diamonds, which the research showed is men's favorite gem. Chatelain advised jewelers on the call to beef up men's assortments for this holiday season and make the men's jewelry displays more prominent. Finally, the research showed that yellow gold is continuing to trend high in all categories.

Among the key findings:

• Almost 30% of respondents say it's extremely likely they'll give fine jewelry as a gift this holiday season, while another 37% are still undecided but haven't ruled it out. Earrings, necklaces and rings were chosen as the most likely gifts among those who plan to buy.

• A significant number of consumers are interested in gem bead jewelry and pearls, while many are also considering big gemstone rings, stiletto earrings and chunky bracelets. Brooches didn't fare as well in the research, despite their popularity in fashion. But demand for these should continue to grow, says Deborah Yonick, a speaker at the seminar, who is also author of the "Jewelry Lady" column for consumers at the JCOC Web site and an industry public relations consultant. The returning popularity of French cuff shirts is making cuff links more sought after for men, says Yonick. Bangle bracelets, rings and pendants, in various metals including stainless steel and titanium, are also popular with men.

• Parents are giving children more jewelry, citing the desire to teach their children about taking care of something significant, says Chatelain.

• Jewelers should spend more time reminding customers about buying jewelry for November and December birthdays, since these are often neglected occasions during the holiday hoopla. Significant added sales could be made if sales associates and in-store signs brought up the subject.

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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