Independent jewelers are likely to have the busiest holiday season in a long time. Shane Decker, diamond sales expert, thinks that the younger generations purchasing their first diamond studs and engagement rings with 2 to 5 carat diamonds may be the fuel for the growing numbers of sales. And new generations bring new trends.
With many Gen Z customers shopping for the fine jewelry pieces, the final quarter of the year may end up raising the popularity of man-made diamonds even further. According to last week’s article by INSTORE magazine, “retailers are reporting increased sales with strong emphasis on lab-grown diamonds”. The article suggests that jewelers should update or include the inventory of lab-created gems to their general stock, as this will certainly help them multiply the number of season revenue.
However, rising demand for lab diamonds is not the only factor responsible for the increase of sales this season. The supply of the desired jewelry to the consumers is as important as their demand for it. While many retailers have been focussing on improving their social media presence this year, some online-first companies opened physical locations. Both online and offline availability is crucial to give the customers an option to shop the way they prefer. Brilliant Earth, one of the most influential online jewelers, opened several new showrooms in major urban markets. According to Forbes, “the company has enjoyed an average 80% revenue growth” in the areas with brick-and-mortar locations. The inventory consisting of both mined and lab-grown diamonds helps the company differentiate from many chain retailers and brings younger generations to their showrooms. “They like that it’s mining free… It brings in a new customer” - Beth Gerstein, the co-founder of Brilliant Earth, said.
The trend of online lab-created diamond companies going physical is happening not only in the United States. Big Indian retailer Wondr Diamonds opened 10 new locations across the country this year. At the same time UK-based Matilde Jewellery, online designer of man-made diamond jewelry, launched a pop-up store in London for the pre-Christmas season. According to MVI founder and industry analyst Marty Hurwitz, the key competitive advantage is that these showrooms can offer an engagement ring set with lab-created gemstone.
The secret to increasing the sales is clearly giving a customer a choice, both how to buy, online or in a store, and what to buy. Mined diamonds will always be in most jeweler’s inventory. However, as Anna-Mieke Anderson, the member of the recently re-launched International Grown Diamond Association said: “consumer interest in the lab-grown diamond category is growing rapidly and globally... there has been a significant increase in the number of retailers stocking the product, as well as an expansion in the number of designers and manufacturers incorporating lab-grown diamonds into jewelry styles”. Perhaps, if a jewelry retailer wants to stay competitive, having a consistent supply of lab-created diamonds is the best way to not miss out on a lot of revenue this season.