The Top Jewelry Trends Impacting the Market

The Top Jewelry Trends Impacting the Market

Three of the top trends impacting the jewelry and watch market are:

  • Consumers in 2017 continued to purchase fine jewelry, but purchased fashion jewelry more often. Women aged 35-54 were the most likely demographic to purchase fine jewelry.
  • In general, women are more likely to purchase cheap watches, while men have a preference for more expensive watches.
  • Synthetic diamonds are providing a lucrative growth opportunity that established mining companies are eager to exploit.

Demographic Trends

Jewelry and watches are grouped into two major categories: fashion and fine. Consumers’ attitudes toward purchasing fashion and fine items differ markedly due to considerable cost differences. For example, only a small proportion of adults visited a fine jewelry store during the final three months of 2017. However, many more reported shopping for a piece of jewelry from a department store or other purveyor of costume jewelry during that time. People often purchase jewelry and watches for multiple reasons, which can include (but are not limited to):

  • celebration of a major achievement
  • commemoration of a life milestone
  • gifts
  • impulse purchases
  • outfit coordination

Consumers aged 35-54 years old, particularly women, are the most likely cohort to visit a fine jewelry store; this is likely due to jewelry stores' marketing aimed primarily toward these demographics.

In 2017, 22% of adults reported purchasing a watch for themselves or someone else, according to a survey by Simmons Research. Among watch purchasers, women were slightly more likely to purchase a watch than men. However, men show a predilection for expensive watches, while women are more likely to purchase a cheaper watch. Similarly, though individuals 55 years of age or older are more likely to have purchased a watch overall, younger individuals are more likely to spend more when purchasing a watch. One potential factor driving this demographic reversal is the adoption of hybrid and smart watch technology by younger consumers; they’re willing to pay more to get the latest technology in a hybrid or smart watch.

New Product Trends: Synthetic Stones Roil the Market

The effect of synthetic diamonds on the market isn’t crystal-clear. Synthetic diamonds are created inside a laboratory, often using gases or high heat and pressure to simulate natural diamond formation processes. They usually retail at lower price points than natural diamonds, and are free from sustainability and ethics concerns associated with mined diamonds, potentially making them an attractive option for many consumers. According to a recent national survey conducted by Freedonia Focus Reports, consumers are somewhat wary of synthetic stones, with over half being concerned about purchasing expensive jewelry containing them. However, far fewer are worried about purchasing cheaper jewelry containing synthetic stones and many don’t mind at all; this trend will be a major opportunity for future growth of the synthetic diamond market.

Large diamond companies are positioning themselves to account for the new market. For example, De Beers (which derives the majority of its revenue from mined diamonds) is preparing to enter the synthetic market and intends to advertise synthetic diamonds as a casual alternative to fine jewelry. In addition, Alrosa has recently begun retailing a commercial diamond detector at half the price of competitors’ detectors, permitting additional purchasers to afford technology to distinguish between natural and lab-grown diamonds.

Learn More

For more insights into the US jewelry and watches industry, see Jewelry & Watches: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts US personal consumption expenditures (PCE) on jewelry and watches in both nominal and real (inflation-adjusted) US dollars to 2022. Total spending in both nominal and real terms is segmented by product in terms of:

  • jewelry
  • watches

To illustrate historical trends, total PCE, the various segments, and trade are provided in annual series from 2007 to 2017.

Related Focus Reports Include:

About the Author

Owen Stuart is a Market Research Analyst with Freedonia Focus Reports. He conducts research and writes a variety of Focus Reports, and his experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.