Market Place

DE BEERS FOCUSES ON SOLITAIRE NECKLACE, QUALITY

De Beers’ marketing agenda continues to focus on programs which increase consumer demand for quality and boost sales of the diamond solitaire. As the market experiences unprecedented growth, says Derek Palmer, De Beers’ regional director for the Americas, programs such as the Diamond Solitaire Necklace have increased consumer demand for larger, better-quality diamonds.

The shadow knows: De Beers’ research shows 85% of American adults are familiar with its signature “Shadows” television campaign. “Shadows” will return this year, with copy focusing more exclusively on the diamond solitaire. This revised campaign will launch nationally in late 1998.

Solitaire-focused print advertising and marketing have helped drive consumer desire for and sales of solitaire designs, says De Beers. Recognizing that a woman’s desire for a particular piece is the first step in the purchase process, De Beers will increase support for its women’s diamond jewelry “desire” print campaign. This campaign shows eight different solitaire or solitaire-dominant designs, with a separate magazine schedule for the diamond solitaire necklace.

Solitaire efforts: The Diamond Solitaire Necklace program continues, with a promotional element that hopefully will have a public relations impact equal to that of the Mystery Celebrity Contest of the past two years. Details of the new promotion were not available at press time.

In the bridal segment, targeting men with education has proven to be the most effective way to boost sales of bigger, better-quality diamonds. Male consumers aware of both the “Four C’s” and the “Two Months’ Salary Guideline” spend an average 46% more on diamond engagement rings, reports the Diamond Information Center. A new Two Months’ Salary campaign begins in February; the diamond engagement ring campaign targeted to women, which debuted last June, continues this year. These ads have a look and feel similar to the “desire” ads.

For the trade: The Diamond Promotion Service’s new diamond pyramid program has been very well received, says Lynn Diamond, DPS director. The pyramid, a countertop educational tool, graphically teaches how quality and rarity go hand in hand. This spring, DPS plans to launch a new program to teach jewelers how best to promote the Diamond Solitaire Necklace.

On the public side, the Diamond Information Center will continue its efforts to keep diamond jewelry in the public eye.

“Fashion and style trends start with the media, which in turn fuels consumer desire,” says Joan Parker, director of the Diamond Information Center. “Once a product like the Diamond Solitaire Necklace is hot with those in the spotlight, like fashion editors and celebrities, the nation will subsequently embrace the trend.”

The DIC will help place diamonds on celebrities attending high visibility events; work with fashion and lifestyle outlets to ensure inclusion of diamond jewelry in editorial; and support activities beneficial to the overall industry, such as “The Nature of Diamonds” exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

“We feel very positive about the impact of our programs on the North American market,” says Jim Haag, management director for the De Beers account at J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. “We have a good track record and clear indication that our efforts … [help] businesses and manufacturers who integrate them into their marketing communications.” – Hedda Schupak

Teens still Spend more

Retailers can expect to see a dramatic rise in teen spending through the opening years of the 21st century, says Lester Rand of the Rand Youth Poll, New York, N.Y. Rand categorizes teens as 10 through 19 years of age.

Rand has been charting youth spending since 1953. During that time, teens have repeatedly spent more each year despite eight recessions and a drop in the overall teen population from its 42 million high in 1973 to a low of 33 million in 1990.

“Greatly rising per capita spending served to overcome severe population losses, keeping total expenditures rising,” says Rand. As the teen population once again grows to an anticipated 40 million or more, spending increases are almost guaranteed. So don’t underestimate the spending power of that teen in baggy jeans who’s checking out gold chains in your jewelry showcase. She and her friends accounted for nearly $98 billion in spending in 1996. – Alisa Bland

MARKET FIGURES

De Beers’ research into the diamond jewelry market shows encouraging figures for 1997. Some highlights:

  • 63% of married women surveyed expressed strong interest in acquiring

  • diamond jewelry, up from 59% in 1995 and 57% in 1994.

  • 69% of married men indicated a strong interest in giving diamond jewelry, a 3% rise from 1995 figures.

  • 26% of women surveyed said diamond jewelry was their first choice of a gift they’d like to receive. The next most popular preference was antiques (8% of women made them their first choice), jewelry with pearls or emeralds (5%), a fine watch or a fine painting (2%), or a fur coat or wrap (1%).

  • Only 18% of women surveyed felt that diamond jewelry does not fit into their lifestyle. This compares with 42% of women who felt that way in 1978.

  • Most women began to consider acquiring diamond jewelry more than a year before they actually received it.

  • Women often feel guilt over the cost of a diamond engagement ring but ads reinforcing the “keepsake for the rest of your life, don’t settle for less” message are effective in helping to combat it.