How Millennials Propose Differently—and How That Helps Jewelers

The millennial-obsessed Diamond Producers Association recently shared the above video, “The Millennial Marriage Proposal,” on its Linkedin page. It’s something everyone in this industry should watch.

I’m going to indulge in some generational stereotypes here, but bear with me. Young people—just starting out in the world—are sometimes insecure and status-obsessed. Social media plays into that by allowing them to broadcast elements of their lives (generally the most flattering ones) to hundreds of their friends with the click of a button.

Which explains the current vogue for “ring selfies.” Like other elements of social media, ring selfies take traditional behavior and magnify it. Before social media, brides-to-be might show off their new ring to friends. Now, in an instant, they can broadcast their ring—and, by implication, their engagement—to a huge group all at once.

Social media has also led to the rise of more dramatic, camera-ready engagements (as we see in this video). Ever since some genuinely clever proposals went viral, would-be suitors have been pressured to up their game and make the proposal exciting, individualized, romantic, and, in some cases, share-worthy. A new job title has even popped up: proposal planner—people who determine the best way to pop the question. Then there’s the RingCam, a jewelry box equipped with a camera that records the moment of truth and, of course, makes it available for posting.

For brick-and-mortar jewelers, this offers certain opportunities. While an e-tailer may not know the best or most scenic local places to get engaged, a smart neighborhood jeweler will. Even offering a fiancé support and proposal ideas—whether or not they are taken—will no doubt be appreciated. Most men have never done this before. They are under more pressure than ever to hit a home run. A good jeweler can help.

We often hear that the best way for brick-and-mortar stores to fight e-tailers is to offer an experience. That traditionally has meant time in the store. But for brides- and grooms-to-be, the engagement experience extends beyond the store walls. If a jeweler can become part of that larger experience, if they can have an influence beyond the ring sale, then that jeweler will become even more a part of the couple’s story. And, as we know, this generation likes to share stories.


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JCK News Director