Much has been discussed and written about the tremendous cultural, social, and financial impact yielded today by Millennials, and, to a lesser extent, Generation Z. Not as commonly analyzed:
How these fiercely independent and often-misunderstood groups of modern American consumers are influencing – and even changing – the game when it comes to the jewelry-buying experience.
But that’s the sort of topic we here at Zillion love to dive right into. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Millennials vs. Gen Z: A Quick Primer
Roughly defined as the generation born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials now encompass the ranks of 30-somethings and (gasp!) even some 40-year-olds. They’re obviously also composed of a great number of jewelry purchasers, especially when it comes to diamond (or other, non-traditional gemstone-centered) engagement rings. In fact, research by De Beers shows that Millennials (who represent just under 30% of the world’s population) accounted for nearly 60% of diamond jewelry demand in the U.S. in 2017 — and nearly 80% in China.
The first deeply digital generation in American history, it’s estimated that Millennials now account for as much as $600 billion in spending here every year. Some data also holds that they also make as much as 55% of their overall purchases online — a figure that’s only surged since the COVID-19 pandemic wave broke on American shores in the early days of 2020.
Generation Z (or Gen Z for short), on the other hand, includes anyone born from 1997 to the current day. Regarded as more frugal, discerning and idealistic than their Millennial bigger brothers and sisters, members of Gen Z have had to endure quite a bit more financial hardships and burden — and currently account for around $143 billion in annual “buying ability” or “spending power.” Of course, as Gen Z young men and women age and grow into the ever-shifting American workforce, that number will begin to surge. So it’s wise to communicate and connect with them…now. In as many ways as you can. Whenever and wherever possible. Recent research even credited “older” Gen Z consumers for 5% of all diamond jewelry piece purchases in the U.S.
While there are many distinct differences (including that massive gap in spending power) between Millennials and “Gen Z’ers”, there are several similarities, also. When it comes to connecting with and converting them into buyers, brand ambassadors and repeat jewelry customers, there are certainly some common threads involved. The overall common denominator? The old way of doing business probably is going to fall flat with either audience.
Experience, Experience, Experience
For both groups, life is meant to be lived. As all of us continue to wistfully, wishfully eye a return to something close to “normal” in our not-quite-post-pandemic world, this will probably become even more true. Life experiences and adventures, such as vacations and travel, are at a premium with Millennium and Gen Z consumers alike. Accordingly, it’s incredibly vital for your business and brand to make them feel like they were afforded a premium, smooth shopping and buying experience. The more customized and even personalized you can make this experience feel, the better. Don’t just treat them like…a number. The stodgy, stuffy, Old School attitude and ambiance long championed in the jewelry world just isn’t going to resonate with this audience — thought it goes without saying, real refinement and class never go out of style.
Digital Dominates. Mobile Matters Most.
Of course, much of this elevated experience is likely to occur not just inside your store, but in the digital domain as well. Both of these audiences, and Gen Z in particular, embrace and embody technology like no generation before them ever has. Because of this, it’s truly vital to deliver a smart, smooth, at least somewhat captivating online experience — and you’d certainly better ensure your site is also optimized for mobile viewing, browsing and buying.
When these younger consumers do come into your store (after carefully perusing consumer reviews and conducting research online), it’s ideal to make sure they’re presented with a bright, colorful, creative and well-lit environment. You might even want to dedicate a certain area for the oft-maligned but ever-present “selfie” picture taking that’s bound to occur. Do this right, and they’ll be more likely to promote and “tag” you on social media channels like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. On the topic of social media, it certainly would serve your business and brand well to have a strong presence on at least the more popular social networking sites. You just never know which young and popular “influencer” might decide to help boost your brand.
Authentic Love. No Matter the Label.
True love is timeless — and something we always love to celebrate here at Zillion. But within every generation, expressions of love tend to shift and ebb and flow. This is particularly true when it comes to the institution of marriage. The De Beers Diamond Insight Report 2019 reported that Millennials and Gen Z have the highest rates of cohabitation, meaning many couples are loving and living together — minus the traditional bond or label of marriage. Just as what it means to be in a committed relationship with another person changes, so have the styles, designs and costs of rings that are used to symbolize these relationships and bonds. Natural diamonds, lab-grown synthetic diamonds and alternative gemstones are all purchased and worn to express various forms of love and commitment today. There’s even a fast-rising, tech-savvy startup company that’s hard at work converting the ashes of departed loved ones (including pets) into synthetic diamonds. It definitely serves you as a business or brand to not only be familiar with these shifting styles and trends, but to offer an array of “outside-the-jewelry-box” diamond and gemstone jewelry – at a variety of price points – for this unique and authenticity-obsessed subset of consumers.
Zillion: Made for Millennial and Gen Z Consumers
From its smooth, easy online experience to the affordable price point and beyond, Zillion was made for the tech-savvy, always-on, reputation-conscious Millennial and Gen Z consumers. With just one click, Zillion protects them with out-the-door coverage so they can wear their new jewelry with confidence.
Visit our jewelers page now to learn how you can partner with us to deliver the kind of customer experience that will win over even these hard-to-please generations!