Do They Or Don’t They?
“Do Millennials Really Hate Diamonds?” – Barron’s, October 17, 2016
“Millennials Aren’t Buying Diamonds, And Here’s Why” – The Blog, July 8, 2016
“Why Have Millennials Fallen Out of Love With Diamonds” – The Daily Beast, May 1, 2016
“Millennials Will Spend More On Engagement Rings Because They’re Marrying later” – Bustle, February 18, 2016
“Why Marrying Millennials Are Giving the Finger to Diamond Rings” – The Guardian, March 13, 2017
“Blame Millennials: Diamond Jewelry Business in a Rough Spot” – Retail, June 16, 2016
“Millennials Buy Diamonds. So Why Does Everyone Think That They Don’t?” – Forbes, September 20, 2016
If you read the headlines and happen to be in this business, you certainly have to wonder. You can certainly go down the path and believe the emperor has no clothes, or you can pay attention to the overwhelming articles that lean in the not so favorable direction. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth. In no uncertain terms would it be prudent for everyone to ignore it. Is this Millennial market still buying diamonds? The answer is yes. Should we ignore where there’s smoke, there’s fire? The answer is no.
When you analyze the overall situation, is the Millennial generation so different than prior generations? Or are they simply more exposed to the barrage of accessible information so readily available today? Is it simply that we can hear their voices? The concerns of all generations remain the same. When I was twenty-five, I worried about making enough money and paying my bills. The same holds true today. The big difference? There is an insane preponderance of negative information out there, coupled with an overabundance of connectivity. There are great things about being connected. And, there are not so great things about being connected. It’s great to be heard and have a voice. But, now a mountain is very often made out of a molehill. I was optimistic when I was young because I didn’t turn around every five minutes to hear that there was no reason to be optimistic.
Here’s what it comes down to — common sense.
Millennials aren’t smarter than generations before them. The amount of information they have at their fingertips leads them to question. Common sense tells you to be cautious if you’re in the jewelry industry. If you’re looking to understand why this generation is marrying later (if at all), all you need to do is look at the facts. The average graduate owes $37,000 in student loans. You think buying a diamond or any fine jewelry is front and center? That’s just common sense. According to research done by Duke University, today’s 30 year old makes as much as a 30-year-old in 1984, and a dollar less than a 30-year-old in 2004 (adjusted for inflation). Add that sobering note to their college debt (Millennials are 51% more likely to have graduated college than a Boomer and 18% more than Gen X). According to another article, those under the age of 30 are poorer than retired people. Understand those statistics and you get to where we are today. Read the article and study by DeBeers, and they lead you to believe otherwise. In truth, I’m not sure that I was thinking about owning fine jewelry at twenty-five either. I grew up and into that love.
Every generation has been faced with adversity and issues when they were young and stepping out into the world. Perhaps this Millennial generation has it a little worse. So back to my original question: Do they or don’t they? Will they or won’t they? We know this: People will always fall in love. How they define that love may take a different form. It may be with diamonds, or it may be with color. It also may be with lab-grown diamonds. It may be with no jewelry at all. We don’t really know where it might be heading. But, if I were in retail, I would be listening. I would certainly not be averse to selling something new. I would be thoroughly transparent. I would get out of the old mindset that you need to spend exorbitant amounts of money to express your love. I would not make that Millennial feel bad if they are unable to. I would begin to think about new product offerings. I would be open to doing business differently.
So, maybe it’s really about the following question: Will you or won’t you?