What Will Young Consumers Want When COVID-19 Ends?

Living through social distancing and enforced isolation is leading younger consumers to better recognize the value of social bonds, MVI Marketing found after conducting a series of interviews with “next generation” consumers.

“I will feel more appreciative of my family and my friends,” said a 31-year-old woman from Nashville, Tenn.

Jennifer, a 27-year-old from Arcadia, Calif., (pictured) added: “It will strengthen a lot of relationships and help [people] realize how much they need each other.”

Another said she now plans to attend more family functions, having missed a few.

MVI Marketing chief executive officer Marty Hurwitz tells JCK the interviews were spurred by his daughter getting engaged a month ago.

“I thought, What an interesting thing to do during this time,” he said. “When we did these interviews, [the consumers] were willing to be very transparent in what they were thinking. We really got a sense that emotional attachments are what people are missing right now.”

He sees a possible boom in engagements and marriages when this is all over.

“I think there is going to be a reaffirmation of traditional bonds. It’s not all going to be heterosexual couples. There will be more multiracial couples. So the way people will solidify a bond will look different. But there will be a greater move toward personal commitment.”

All of which represents an opportunity for the jewelry business, Hurwitz says, as jewelry is a traditionally “emotionally driven” purchase.

However, he believes that new consumers won’t necessary want standard jewelry items, such as big diamonds or garish symbols of wealth. Instead, they will gravitate toward affordably priced unique and personal items.

“They want to make a gift, they don’t want to buy a gift, and they might do a custom gift. We will see much more customization of things that we buy.”

All of which represents an opportunity for independent jewelers, he feels, especially since some interviewees plan to avoid crowded shopping malls for the near term, and the country now has a greater recognition of the value of small businesses. Hurwitz also notes that smaller companies are more able to be “nimble” and offer a personal touch than a big chain.

As in the past, younger consumers showed an interest in brands that help worthy causes and care about the environment.

But Hurwitz warns that our industry is going to have to become more varied to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse consumer pool.

“We need to get more young people and women and different groups into the industry. You go into a jewelry store and you rarely see diversity. None of the salespeople look like the people in our video. I saw that Signet is doing Spanish-language advertising and that’s great. But it’s just a start.”

MVI’s full report can be downloaded here.

(Image courtesy of MVI Marketing)

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JCK News Director

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