TAM Demi-Fine/Fine Jewelry - Follow-up (Trends)
- A major AR technology pioneer in the e-commerce space is ThreeKit, a "company that creates incredible 3D and augmented reality for e-commerce, to improve the landscape and provide better customer experiences for shoppers and business buyers everywhere."
- The potential sales growth brought about by NFTs is driving many companies to expand their reach to cash in on NFTs and the metaverse, especially on how these can transform business operations in the jewellery industry.
- Under growing demand for customization and niche competition in the industry, online jewellery retailers, including Metal Pressions for instance, offer customers the opportunity to design their jewellery virtually.
We have expanded on why AR technology, NFT drifts, Customized Jewellery Selling and Niche Competition, and Re-Commerce and Ethical Investments are the current trends in the jewellery market and customer-focused services. For each, we have provided examples of leading participants contributing to the trends. We have presented our findings below.
1. Augmented Reality Technology
- Consumers since time immemorial have been driven by the desire to see, touch and feel what they buy. An experience traditional brick and mortar achieves in the jewellery industry, driving sales for industry players for decades.
- However, growth in the demand for online commerce each year has triggered a natural evolution for industry leaders to explore possibilities where customers can interact with what they but even in the comfort of their homes. This is where AR technology fills the decades-long industry gap.
- According to Retail Perceptions, customers' purchase decisions are augmented by the use of AR technology. "This sensory technology can show you precisely what any piece of jewellery will look like on you, from necklaces to rings to watches and earrings. All you need to do is simply hold up a camera to your face on any smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer, and the technology does the rest. Pretty neat!"
- Many established brands have embraced this new technology to revolutionize the customer's pre-purchase experience. Among these revolutionary brands are De Beers, Tanishq and Kalyan Jewellers, raising the standard for eCommerce jewellery sales and customer retention.
- A major AR technology pioneer in the e-commerce space is ThreeKit, a "company that creates incredible 3D and augmented reality for eCommerce, to improve the landscape and provide better customer experiences for shoppers and business buyers everywhere."
- Lindsey Coggins is another jewellery brand that has transformed its online experience through its next-generation AR known as the 3D product configurator, affording customers the chance to "build and view their dream jewellery in real-time, customizing and personalizing a rendering of their chosen design ring, which in turn helps them preview their custom jewellery before purchase."
- Chrono24 is a German-based online watch market platform using AR technologies to aid customers to 'trying on' popular watches on their smartphones before making a purchase.
2. NFT Drip: Jewellery’s New Frontier
- The year 2021 witnessed a lot about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and the Metaverse, an evolution in the digital world that caught Facebook to rebrand its name to Meta. Since then, NFT total sales have skyrocketed from almost zero to over $37 billion (£30 billion).
- According to Forbes, an NFT is a "digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos."
- The potential sales growth brought about by this digital revolution is driving many companies to expand their reach to cash in on NFTs and the metaverse and how these can transform business operations in the jewellery industry.
- According to Asprey, a royal warrant wielding British jeweller, "the hype surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) digital tokens of blockchain-registered ownership, is spilling into jewellery with an increasing number of brands jumping on the trend, from indie cool kids to established major players."
- “NFTs are perfect for us, because they capture everything about the product, forever, when the information is part of a blockchain,” adds John Rigas, Asprey’s Executive Chairman, during an interview with Vogue Business, as his company plans to release both digital-physical pairs and a line of digital-only NFTs.
- In summary, Jacques Voorhees, Icecap CEO opined that “with NFTs, we can make a tradeable representation of the diamond on the blockchain, which can then be freely traded while the diamonds remain safely in a vaulted environment. In this way, the diamond can be bought and sold at the same price level, which thus creates a two-way, publicly accessible marketplace for investors.”
- Already, Icecap is selling NFTs diamonds from $5,000 to $15,000, as well as rare pieces of a 70-carat diamond necklace and a purplish-red diamond ring offered at $3.6 million and $3 million respectively.
3. Customized Jewellery Selling and Niche Competition
- The saturated online jewellery marketplace means that revolutionary brands in the industry are unravelling the power of social media (aka social selling) to influence e-commerce sales.
- Social Selling has become the logical way in 2022 where companies can put their "products in front of target audiences with the likes of Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, where Missoma for example targets women in their 20s and 30s."
- Driven by increasing demand for bespoke commissions, there is a growing trend that results in luxury-wide demand for personalization. Online retailers, including Metal Pressions for instance, offer customers the opportunity to design their jewellery virtually.
- Additionally, with the growing drive for customization means higher prices can be charged due to premium placed product uniqueness, and "just like special diamonds or gems, unique sells."
- Associated with this trend are the commercial successes witnessed in Religious Jewellery that incorporate specific faith, birthstone jewellery, school spirit jewellery with school colors, Butterfly Jewellery and body Jewellery.
- “Year on year, our bespoke department is growing as customers like to have their own choices incorporated into the design of the ring. Upcycling is also showing no signs of abating with the redesign and use of old stones key, whether it’s a family piece remodelled for the next generation or instead of having lots of jewellery pieces, one large piece of jewellery is made and the stones are reused," says Carol Sinfield, Sales Manager of Hockley Mint, a Jewellery manufacturing company.
- Among the popular participants in this trend are Soufeel, Oak & Luna, My Name Necklace, Custom Made, and Zales.
4. Re-Commerce and Ethical Investments
- There has been an exponential rise in sales of second-hand jewellery following the pandemic lockdowns in 2020, impacting the fine vintage jewellery segment of the industry.
- "In 2022, the combined rise of re-commerce and push back against relentless new-season products and a desire for more meaningful luxury against the backdrop of the climate crisis is propelling an obsession with pre-loved jewels and archive culture, with fashion fans sharpening their elbows to score rare collectibles, exquisite couture and statement jewellery that can be customized and made even more unique," according to Vogue in 2022.
- The ethical investment drive of customers has got them asking "is this another overpriced object, or does it have a mythology attached to it?” says Mark Tungate, Luxury Brand Expert and Author, with the "allure of vintage products and archive-based materials and experiences is feeding an uptick in auction concepts, inherently connected to the thrill of storytelling through goods and hustling to find a gem, something missing from the accessibility of items in today’s world."
- Many companies have started second-guessing the growing drive for second-hand sales, venturing into auction-esque investments to capture value. For instance, vintage sales site 1stDibs introduced 1stDibs Auctions for acquisition via bidding, in the model of eBay and auction house Sotheby's in November 2021.
- According to Sophie Hill, CEO of Threads Styling, a social media-based e-commerce platform which has grown 160% and 500% year-on-year in the Asia-Pacific region and the US since 2019 and 2020 respectively, "the Threads community has become more interested in vintage, not only with past collections but also bespoke vintage pieces, especially bags and watches."
For this research on current trends in the jewellery market and customer-focused service, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information available in the public domain, including Selazar. Additionally, we scoured the official websites of identified trend participants to confirm their involvement in the various trends, including Auction 1stDibs.