GUEST COLUMN: Supporting millennial demand across the Forevermark network

Words by Forevermark chief operating officer, Nancy Liu

Millennials represent the largest consumer market for diamond jewellery globally, spending more than US$25 billion on diamond jewellery in 2015 in the four largest consumer markets of the US, China, India and Japan.

Most importantly, while millennials already express very strong demand for diamond jewellery and acquire more than any other generation, this huge cohort of consumers is yet to reach its full financial potential. As such, understanding millennials and the values and attitudes that influence their purchasing behaviour should be of critical importance to all of us in the jewellery sector, given the significant opportunities this group presents.

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Research demonstrates that millennials favour products and experiences that are unique, authentic and personalised — all of which diamond jewellery offers, and perhaps in a way that few other luxury products can. However, in order to appeal to this generation, we also need to ensure that our brand and marketing strategies are as unique and personalised as the diamonds we sell.

While millennials exhibit high levels of desirability for diamond jewellery, their preferences and purchasing trends are very different to that of their parents’ generation. As millennials are educated in the new era of globalisation and are more economically and socially empowered than previous generations, they bring a new concept to the diamond market that diamonds aren’t just for life’s most special occasions, but also for the pure pleasure and pride that comes from wearing beautiful diamonds wherever and whenever you want.

This new consumption idea stimulates the market to attach more importance to younger consumers than it has done traditionally. In addition, higher levels of female economic empowerment due to increased participation in the workforce has led to self-purchase becoming an important and growing acquisition route among millennials. In the US, for example, self-purchasing by millennials represented 31% of all non-bridal diamond pieces acquired in 2015.

Millennials have also grown up in an age where online purchasing and engagement with brands via social media is an everyday norm. At Forevermark, we are acutely aware of the need and opportunity to engage with millennial consumers and are focused on continuously evolving and innovating our brand strategies to appeal to millennial preferences.

Supporting millennial demand across the Forevermark network

There is a lot of focus on millennials in our Forevermark business. We’ve recently launched a new retail concept store in China called Libert’aimeTM by Forevermark, and this is designed to appeal to the 420 million millennials in China through an omnichannel model that offers a contemporary, highly interactive and engaging consumer experience that is designed to appeal to millennial preferences. The omnichannel experience combines the Libert’aimeTM by Forevermark flagship store, online platforms and the launch of a WeChat store on China’s leading social media platform. The physical store also includes a number of innovative, digital experiences, including a 3D diamond wall and a ‘Magic Mirror’ where consumers can instantly share their favourite diamond jewellery pieces with friends and family. In addition, it includes a ‘Diamond Bar’ where everyday diamond jewellery can be found and a ‘Spectacular Diamonds’ area containing fancy-cut and multi-diamond pieces. The store has a diamond jewellery range that has been designed with a younger, more fashion-forward consumer in mind, who might just be starting their diamond journey.

We wanted to create an environment giving Chinese consumers the freedom to shop for diamonds in an entirely new way.

In the US, Forevermark is also focused on delivering a new omnichannel offering and is developing designs, concepts and marketing approaches that will engage millennials consumers. The Forevermark Tribute campaign that began last year has had strong appeal with millennials as it is focused on the pieces representing the modern woman and all the facets of her personality and achievements. It features a number of stackable jewellery designs that have proven to be a strong trend with millennial consumers and Forevermark also increasingly seeks to bring a seamless consumer experience through all interactions with the brand, whether they be through the physical in-store experience, social channels or the website. The key is developing a sense of ‘everywhere commerce’ where consumers can access a variety of brand touchpoints that all offer a consistent experience and which enable consumers to research and purchase through whatever their preferred method is.

In India, Forevermark will continue to collaborate with renowned jewellery designers and strengthen its partnerships with jewellery retailers to create exquisite diamond jewellery collections appealing to millennials.

In short, the diamond industry now has started to attach more and more importance to the millennial generation. The key will be continuing to keep an eye on emerging trends and technological developments that bring opportunities for our jewellery retailers, for as the millennials have the potential to be the mainstay of the industry, we have to listen closely to our consumers to ensure that the power of Forevermark diamonds to captivate hearts and minds, will continue for both current and future generations.

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