Self Purchasers Buying Habits are Changing

The desire and willingness to make fine jewelry self-purchases remain strong among consumers, according to a recent Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council study.

Most of the JCOC members surveyed in late April and early May say there doesn’t need to be a reason or occasion to buy for themselves, especially if something catches their eye while shopping. However, where these consumers make their purchases has changed since a similar study was conducted in 2005. Far fewer say they self-splurge at their national or regional chain jewelers and a stagnant amount buy at their local independents.

Fine jewelry self shoppers are buying more on the Internet, and in department stores, and mass merchants, all three categories of which showed growth ranging from 1.5 percent to 3.6 percent since 2005. With more than two-thirds of respondents having purchased jewelry for themselves in the past, and 16 percent planning to do so in the next six months, it behooves fine jewelers to pay closer attention to the self-purchase potential in all their customers and to encourage the concept in their promotional activities.

“To capture more of the self-purchase market, fine jewelers need to remind consumers to consider themselves when making purchases for others,” says Elizabeth Chatelain, president of MVI Marketing. “More creative marketing, such as a ‘Celebrate Me’ in-store event, can get consumers thinking about a self-purchase and could be scheduled during months when consumers traditionally buy less fine jewelry to boost sales.”

Nearly 80 percent of respondents buy jewelry for themselves whenever they see something they like; nearly three quarters do it for their birthdays; and more than half do it to celebrate an accomplishment or while shopping for others, according to the survey. These consumers are prepared to spend money on fine jewelry for themselves, so pay special attention to the $500- $1,000 range, as JCOC panelists cited a preference for these price points, Chatelain said.

JCOC, an Internet-based e-panel and market research analysis system, is a division of MVI Marketing Ltd., which provides the gem and jewelry industry market intelligence about jewelry products and the end-consumer.