Customer Personas: High-end diamond and gemstone jewelry

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Please develop 1-3 personas for people who buy luxury jewelry

The average consumer of high-end jewelry tends to be affluent, with annual household income of $70,000 or more. Accordingly, they tend to live in higher income states of Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Alaska, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. The age groups of the two personas are millennial (male and female), as this encompasses couples getting married and seeking to purchase engagement rings, and Generation X women who, being older, have had more time to accumulate wealth and self-gifts herself fine jewelry. Below, you will find more details.

METHODOLOGY

In order to compose the target personas, I reviewed market research reports, jewelry industry media articles, and other trusted media articles limiting my search to the past 24 months. Although my search was for the high-end jewelry sector, including both diamond and gemstone jewelry, the majority of the publicly available information and data was specific to the diamond jewelry industry rather than the luxury gemstone jewelry market in general. As diamond jewelry is assumed to make up a significant proportion of the fine jewelry market, this information has been assumed as representative of consumers of luxury jewelry overall and has been used as the basis for the personas.

MILLENNIAL COUPLES PURCHASING ENGAGEMENT RINGS OR ROMANTIC GIFTS

Couples looking to buy an engagement ring remain a significant target market with over half of all women’s diamond jewelry purchases for either "bridal occasions or given as gifts of love" according to De Beers latest findings. Their most recent 2017 report, which is based on data from 2014 to 2016, covers the leading diamond jewelry consuming countries the US, Japan and China. The main segments based on the studies were bridal purchases (27%) such as engagement rings, and gifts given in a romantic relationship (25%). The engaged couple is more likely to be middle or upper class, as the rate of working-class people getting married has seen a more rapid decline.

As the average age of those getting married is 28, this puts this persona firmly within the millennial age bracket. This is further evidenced by the fact that in 2015, 41% of US diamond jewelry purchases were made by millennials. The amount spent by US millennials on diamond jewelry has increased by $6 billion in the 6 years leading up to 2015 when US millennials purchased $16 billion worth of diamond jewelry.

Although it may be the man purchasing a ring or love gift for his female partner, the persona should encompass both partners as this is often a joint decision to ensure the jewelry is to the woman’s taste. The 2017 survey on engagement practices from The Knot showed that 70% of women had “some involvement in the final decision”, which could include either dropping hints on which ring (38%) or both going ring-shopping together (33%).

GENERATION X MARRIED WOMEN SELF-GIFTING

Women who purchase fine jewelry for themselves are a growing market. Although single women self-gift, married women are more likely to, which can be attributed to the increased probability of being older and earning a higher income, and purchasing for “non-traditional occasions” according to a spokesperson for the Diamond Producers Association.

De Beers found that across the three major diamond jewelry consuming countries, 23% of diamond jewelry purchases were self-gifts, mostly by married women (16%) compared to only 7% by single women. However, when considering just the US, this total of self-gifts as a proportion of all diamond jewelry purchases is even higher, at 33%, although the breakdown between married and single is not provided. De Beers reports that this has been a growing market since 2005, increasing by over a third since then.

As these self-gifting women tend to be already married, we can infer that they are generally older than the millennials, the age bracket in which the average age of marriage falls. A spokesperson for Jewelers of America is quoted in a National Jeweler article as saying that “the ‘midult’ woman is the most powerful and overlooked customer of fine jewelry today” where the term “midult” is equated with Generation X who were “born between 1960 and 1980”. De Beers found that almost a quarter of women out-earned their husbands, a driving factor in women self-gifting. Further, Generation X has “31% of total income dollars” in the US, their affluence being another factor.

BOTH PERSONAS

The two personas outlined above share the same characteristics in terms of income level and location. IDEX found that the single demographic factor which made purchase of jewelry more likely was income level and that more affluent households were more likely to buy jewelry. A household with an annual income of $150,000 is likely to spend 13 times more than a household with $25,000 annual income, only 6 times less income. Those with an annual income of $70,000 and above account for 64% of jewelry purchases, so will be used as the income level for both personas.

As earnings are a major determining factor, these target consumers are likely to be based are in affluent states. Equity Communications used qualified jewelry prospects based on households with income of over $50,000 to figure “qualified jewelry prospects” by state. Those graded the top rating of A+, with over 70% of households with income of over $50,000, are Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Alaska, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Hawaii.

CONCLUSION

I have determined two personas of luxury jewelry consumers. The first is the affluent millennial couple, both male and female, purchasing engagement rings or fine jewelry as a romantic gift. Although the man is likely to be buying the jewelry for the woman, the input from the woman in the choice of jewelry means she must also be targeted. The second is the affluent married Generation X woman, purchasing fine jewelry for herself. These consumers are more likely to live in the affluent states of Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Alaska, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Hawaii.
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