Focus on

the diamond market

DE BEERS LOOKS AT CONSUMER BEHAVIOR DURING HEALTH CRISIS, PHYSICAL STORES PREFERRED BUT FEELING SAFE IS KEY

 

Despite the lockdown and the increased comfort with shopping using the Internet, more than 62 percent of American consumers would still prefer to buy diamond jewellery at a physical store rather than online, according to new research published today by De Beers Group in the second of its Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Reports, which seek to highlight the evolving consumer perspective in light of COVID-19. But there is a provider, the store environment needs to be considered safe.

The De Beers research, which was based on a survey of 500 adult Americans, also highlighted that safety in relation to health and hygiene is critical to ensuring consumers feel comfortable shopping in-store. 

According to the survey, department stores were seen as the most trusted channel for ensuring appropriate safety measures by 39 percent of consumers, while independent jewellers were considered the second most trusted, at 21 percent.

The general preference for brick and mortar stores was evident across most demographic groups with respondents saying that still prefer to shop in-store where they can receive expert advice and personal attention. This was the case even among digital-savvy Millennial and Gen-Z consumers, with 59 percent preferring the in-store experience.

SPECIFIC SAFETY MEASURES CITED

When it came to specific safety measures, the three most important considerations for consumers were limiting the number of customers in the store, cited by 68 percent of respondents; providing hand sanitiser, 66 percent of respondents;  and ensuring staff wear face masks and gloves at all times, 64 percent of respondents.

Further down the list of priorities were cleaning each piece of jewellery after being handled,  mentioned by 53 percent of those polled, Interestingly, an even smaller number, 48 percent said that requiring customers to wear face masks was a priority, and only 42 percent said that having screens to separate customers and sales associates was an essential measure.

Only 4 percent of consumers said they would feel comfortable shopping with no safety measures in place. The retailers who were shown to retailers doing the best were ones who felt invested in their employees. 

According to De Beers research, more than 62 percent of American consumers would still prefer to buy diamond jewelry at a physical store rather than online.

Though many did furlough workers, the intent to create a safe working environment in store for their employees when they returned was a constant.

Training was also key. This included retailers who invested in training employees during downtime to become better experts on products, to understand how to manage aspects of website maintenance, marketing or social media, or simply on how to maintain new standards of hygiene and sanitation in stores once re-opened.

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OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FOURTH QUARTER

The De Beers reports indicated a clear sense of optimism for the fourth quarter sales season, however caution remained with regards to potential new outbreaks and the impact to consumer confidence as economic stimulus is wound up.

The report also stated that those retailers that have reopened following lockdown have experienced pent-up demand from consumers, driven by strong engagement ring sales, jewellery gifts being upgraded as an alternative to summer travel, and a stronger season than normal for graduation gifting.

Almost all of the retailers surveyed said they would be returning to trade shows, with the primary purposes mentioned being to network, connect with likeminded other jewelers, learn, and deepen relationships they already had with vendors. Eagerness to return to industry gatherings seemed to override anxiety about mingling in large groups.

 “It is heartening to hear initial reports of positive demand for diamond jewellery as consumers emerge from lockdown and the industry starts preparing for the important end of year sales season,” stated De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver.