Online jewelers are becoming more and more popular with younger people, with sales of $100-plus worth of jewelry and jewellery accessories soaring, according to a new report.
Key points:A study of US consumers found jewellery sales have doubled over the past decade and now outsell clothing, footwear and jeweller services, and jewellery is becoming more valuable than everSource: The Jewelers’ Journal (WA)The number of online jeweller’s sales has doubled since the mid-1990s, while they are now outselling fashion and jewemaking services and jewelery is worth more than ever.
“The growth is really significant,” said Gemma Fergusson, managing director of Jewelers Weekly, an online diamond shop that specialises in jewellery and gemstones.
“You see it with clothing, with shoes, with jewellery, and now with jewellering,” she said.
“What’s really exciting about jewelleries is they’re getting better and better at selling to people.”
Gemma said she was surprised to find that while online jeweller’s sales had grown, they were still falling behind the fashion and shoe market.
“We’re seeing that the fashion is still really strong, and the shoe industry is still very strong,” she explained.
“But now we’re seeing jewellery online and it’s really starting to catch on.”
The Jewelers Journal study found jewellists’ sales had increased by 30 per cent in the past five years, but jewellier services were now worth $5,000 less than in 2015.
“I’m not sure how to define jewellery but it’s a form of luxury,” said Ms Ferguson.
“It’s very expensive.
It’s very beautiful.”
While jewelliers may be attracting younger people and those with a lower income, Ms Fermusson said the industry was also facing the challenges of being viewed by some as too expensive.
“Many people who have the best prices don’t have a lot of money and they’re often seen as being too expensive,” she added.
“And that’s why you see a lot more people selling for the same price as their competitors.”
Gemsmiths’ riseThe number and quality of gemsmiths rose significantly from 2009 to 2015, with more than 4,000 people working in the industry, and in some cases, more than double that number.
“If you go back to the early days of the diamond boom, we had just a couple of thousand gemmologists, and we had very few diamonds,” Ms Ferrusson told 7.30.
“Now we have more than 5,000.
So it’s definitely a significant growth.”
In the first five months of this year, the number of gems in Australia grew by 15 per cent compared to the same period last year, and was up almost 50 per cent from the same time last year.
“There are a lot people out there looking for the best quality gems and that’s where gem sales are coming from,” Ms Fang said.
In 2016, a study by the Gem Council found there were just over 50,000 certified gemmists and that in the first quarter of this century, there were almost 70,000 of them, accounting for more than 60 per cent of the industry.
Ms Fermuson said Gemmars were the only industry where people were actually paying attention to quality.
“A lot of people think it’s just a luxury thing,” she suggested.
“They’re not really aware of what the process is.”
But she said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“Most of the people that are really passionate about gem sales and buying quality gems, are actually not really paying attention at all to the quality of the stones they’re using.”
The report found gems were becoming more expensive due to the higher value of the gems, and Ms Fang was concerned that more people were becoming dissatisfied with their choice of stones.
“People are going to buy a gem because they think it’ll last forever, or they think they can afford to pay a premium,” she pointed out.
“So I think it could be the case that there is a bit of a consumer backlash and a bit more of a push to make the price as high as possible.”
For us, it’s more of an art, and there’s a lot less of a value to what people are paying for.
“While many gems are still being made at home, there is growing interest in the growing number of microprocessors being used to make gems, with some microprocessor manufacturers employing thousands of workers.”
Microprocessors are starting to replace many of the high-end manufacturing processes that we’ve been using for years,” Ms Wong said.