JCOC.net publishes three years of consumer research

The Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council e-panel “2005 Year-in-Review” is available from MVI Marketing Ltd. This 61-page report presents key findings, analysis, and insights into jewelry trends based on three years of consumer omnibus studies. In addition, it provides projections for future business and recommendations for capturing a greater portion of that business.

The Paso Robles, Calif.-based market research firm launched JCOC.net four years ago. The Internet-based market research analysis system now boasts 100,000 consumers on its panel. JCOC.net members represent a cross section of America’s demographics. By hosting monthly surveys and client studies, MVI can track trends and buying habits before they surface in the market.

“The cost of doing business has skyrocketed to such a level that to have the ability to better understand the wants, needs and desires of the consumer will help jewelers position themselves as premier jewelry retailers in their marketplace,” said Elizabeth Chatelain, co-CEO of MVI Marketing and manager of the JCOC.net. “Consumers’ desires often don’t come close to the industry’s perceptions. A tremendous disconnect still exists between the industry’s perceptions of consumer preferences and what the consumer actually wants.”

Among the findings in the book:

• Self-purchases accounted for 50 to 90 percent of the jewelry purchased in any given month in 2005 for at least two-thirds of the year.

• Eighty percent of consumers are likely to buy jewelry for themselves anytime they see something they like, with half of them likely to do so while shopping for others.

• Valentine’s Day has become a big holiday for parents to give gifts of jewelry to their children.

• Prices below $200 are popular for holiday gifts, with the possibility of up-selling to $1,000. Mother’s Day shows great promise of achieving above $300.

• Brand has historically been least important for consumers when buying fine jewelry. But 40 percent would consider branded silver and diamond jewelry.

• Interest in diamond right-hand rings has soared.  In 2003, 75 percent were unaware of the product. By February 2004, more than 42 percent owned one.

• Hispanic jewelry consumers register a greater affinity for platinum, and are more likely to own a diamond right-hand ring than their Anglo counterparts.

• About 75 percent of male respondents wear jewelry, and over a quarter of them would wear more if selection improved and they knew what was available.

Fine jewelry ranks high as the preferred gift for a quarter of JCOC.net panelists on average, Chatelain said. Statistics indicate a greater opportunity to acquire 75 percent more consumers to buy jewelry for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, and the winter holidays—as well as other nontraditional occasions. A quarter of this untapped market is consistently undecided about fine jewelry.

“Smart marketers would benefit from promoting affordable jewelry ideas for these and other occasions throughout the year—giving options to those searching for what to buy,” Chatelain said.

The JCOC.net “2005 Year in Review” report is available for $595 by visiting, www.jcoc.net.