The Millennial Market That Many Jewelers Are Missing

Asian-American and Hispanic millennials are a growing force in the luxury goods market, though jewelers have been slow to recognize the increasing importance of this demographic, according to a new report by MVI Marketing.

“We started realizing about six months ago that this is the biggest shopping bloc within luxury goods for most American brands,” says MVI Marketing CEO Marty Hurwitz. “These consumers are living in our most expensive cities, they are attending top universities, they are buying premium real estate. Some luxury brands are not aware of this demographic. Most jewelry brands are not. Yet this is the growth demographic for luxury goods.”

The millennial generation is one of the most diverse in American history. In January, the Brookings Institution found that 55 percent of millennials (defined as 18 to 35) are white, versus 68 percent of pre-millennials (35 and up). The post-millennial generation (18 and under) is 51 percent white.

The MVI study focused on what it calls Forward Facing Immigrants—Hispanic and Asian consumers whose families may have immigrated to the United States two or three generations ago. The online poll queried 702 respondents aged 25 to 40 with an $80,000 household income and higher, who self-selected as Asian American, Hispanic-American, or Latino-American.

The survey found that this demographic generally favored established names, as well as a “powerful brand experience,” says Hurwitz.

When MVI asked what traits they looked for in a brand, respondents mentioned status, quality, and prestige. Asian-American millennial women said brands like Tiffany, Swarovski, Gucci, and Cartier exemplified those qualities; Hispanic-American millennial women cited Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel.

And yet, in contrast to some younger consumers, this group does not necessarily want to buy luxury goods online, MVI found.

“They said they preferred the service of a sales associate,” says Hurwitz. “They would like an old-school, brick-and-mortar experience that has the cup of tea or a glass of wine. But that is not what they are seeing in traditional jewelry stores.”

He singled out Tiffany & Co. as a brand that, under its new leadership, is doing a good job reaching out to these consumers.

(Photo: Getty Images)

JCK News Director