Live From JCK Las Vegas 2013: Bridal Brilliance by The Knot

If you were in the market for data on bridal jewelry consumers, hopefully you got up early enough Friday morning to hear the details of Laura Cave’s presentation. The director of partner promotions for The Knot, part of the XO Group in New York City, shared insights from the group’s 2013 Bridal Jewelry and Engagement Study with early bird showgoers, who undoubtedly snagged some valuable insights into the minds of the soon-to-be betrothed.

Where it all starts: the research process. About two-thirds of brides surveyed said they were involved with the purchase of their engagement rings, suggesting that marketers should pay close attention to their female audience. About half of brides conduct ring research via the Internet because it’s a private experience and about 40 percent of women become part of TheKnot.com community even before they get engaged.

“Our site is very photo-driven,” explained Cave. “She comes to us to dream first.”

Brides also are mobile, with about 85 percent owning a smartphone (up from 74 percent in 2011). Tablet ownership is also on the rise. Nearly 30 percent of brides rely on an iPad—perhaps to support their Facebook habits: 95 percent check their accounts two to three times daily. Another 75 percent of brides surveyed are using Pinterest, with 24 percent signing on at least a few times weekly. All findings reveal the importance of having an easy-to-navigate, mobile-friendly website.
“If your website doesn’t look great on a mobile phone, she might not find you,” warned Cave.

When it comes to buying the engagement ring, grooms cared more about the quality of the center stone. Meanwhile, the top concern of brides was—not
surprisingly—the style and setting, which ranked No. 2 in importance to the guys. And while she ultimately influences the shape purchased, he influences the size.

Two-thirds of brides drop hints about rings they like to their beaus. And guys who work in tandem with their ladies to source the style spend upward of four and a half months shopping for the ring—compared with gents who shop solo and spend just under three months looking. Overall, guys see an average of 24 individual styles before they select one, and when they make the purchase it’s typically from a local independent jeweler, where 40 percent of grooms buy; 34 percent buy from a chain store and 9 percent from an online outlet—despite the long-expressed fears of brick-and-mortar stores that sales would go online only.

Another benefit for traditional jewelry stores: Your customers tend to spend more. “That’s the difference between shoppers at chain stores and independents—people spend less at the chains,” said Cave, adding that the average cost of an engagement ring was $5,400.

Ironically, even though consumers want to see the rings in person (i.e., in stores), only half of brides ever heard from retailers after the ring purchase. Additionally, about half of couples buy center stones separately from mountings (not as a set).

“This business is about relationships with customers, not just with the jewelry,” Cave reminded attendees. “Shoppers will find something great to buy from you, but you need to stay in touch with them.”