Selling gold jewelry to women who love to buy

Defining the buyer of gold jewelry and using the best practices to sell jewelry to that demographic were among the topics discussed by Rick Bannerot of the World Gold Council (WGC) during his presentation, “Today’s Female Gold Jewelry Buyer.”

Bannerot, WGC vice president of advertising, presented a plethora of the organization’s market research that defines the strongest buyers of gold and how best to meet their needs. “We are trying to help you get the low-hanging fruit,” Bannerot said during his one-hour presentation Thursday at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas 2003.

WGC segments the women’s market into five categories. Of those, two categories are the most appealing gold consumers: “Passionate Indulgents” and “Chic Stylists.” These two groups make up 20% of the female population, they have the highest household and personal income, and they like to buy jewelry, Bannerot said. Approximately 53% bought gold jewelry for themselves during the past year, which is twice the amount bought by all women who purchased jewelry during the same time period.

“Passionate Indulgents” are the most frequent buyers and givers of jewelry, Bannerot said. The amount they spend on jewelry as a gift reflects their relationship with the recipient. They think of their appearance more frequently. They are geographically diverse and range in age from 25 to 54. About 66% are employed. And they spent approximately $580 in the past year on gold.

“Chic Stylists,” meanwhile, are “younger, fresher, and more fashion forward,” Bannerot said. They represent 19% of the female population. They have a high ownership of gold and platinum jewelry. They are 34 to 49 years old. They have a strong preference for yellow gold. And 36% of this segment is African-American. “The jewelry they buy reflects their taste and personality,” Bannerot said.

Bannerot spent some time talking about the “language of gold.” He said that when selling gold, retailers should use words like “pure,” “warm,” “precious,” “beautiful,” and “secure.” Why? Because based on WGC research, “these are their words,” he said. Bannerot also noted that it’s important for retailers to sell gold “as an affordable luxury.” It’s easy to sell, is used in all fashion magazines, and is worn by celebrities.

“It has variety, is versatile and fun, and lots of people are using gold for their runway shows,” he explained. “On the runway, you’re literally going from street hip-hop fashion to some of the most exclusive fashion houses in Paris.”

Some of the fashion uses for gold include amulets and geometric shapes. It’s also important for a jeweler’s sales staff to know how to improvise with gold, for example, showing customers how easy it is to turn a belly chain into a multi-strand bracelet by winding the chain several times. “You’ve got to play with the jewelry,” he said. “You have to know how to use it.”

He added, “It’s you’re responsibility to entertain. You are in the entertainment business.”

Sidebar:

* U.S. Gold Jewelry Sales for 2002
* National gold sales reached $15.9 billion. This represents a 2% increase from the previous year.
* Neck chains made up 37% of gold jewelry purchases, followed by earrings (18%) and bracelets (13%).
* Jewelry stores account for the largest segment of all jewelry sales ($7.9 billion), followed by mass merchants ($3.6 billion), department stores ($3.1 billion), and non-retail stores ($1.4 billion).
The average price for all gold jewelry in 2002 was down 1.6% to $77.19 from the previous year.