Consumers still prefer speaking with jewelers before making a purchase, despite the recent rise in online purchases, a survey has found.
Some 64% of people who bought jewelry visited a store to consult with an expert while deciding what to buy, according to a study released last week by Jewelers of America (JA). That’s 26% more than for other luxury items, the trade body’s online survey of 2,019 consumers showed.
Consumers who talk to a jeweler during the research process are also more likely to buy from a local store rather than online, the organization added.
“For consumers, seeing is believing, and they still rely on the expertise and knowledge of their jeweler,” said David Bonaparte, CEO of JA. “The jewelry shopping experience is different from other luxury purchases, and even in the rise of e-commerce, customers increasingly prioritize the in-store shopping experience.”
Even so, the brick-and-mortar trade is fearful of the impact of online sellers. In a separate JA survey of 257 of its members, spanning retailers and suppliers, 39% of jewelry retailers considered e-commerce to be their biggest competition.
However, only 34% of retailers surveyed actually have an online sales platform. At the same time, jewelers are working on improving their in-store experience by ensuring they have well-trained sales staff and high-quality customer service, the trade association added.
Jewelry self-purchasing is more popular for precious-metal products, JA found, with 56% of consumers considering gold jewelry to be a good choice as something to buy for oneself. Some 40% put sterling-silver jewelry in this category, while pieces containing diamonds and gemstones were more likely to be a candidate for gifting. Overall, 50% of consumers thought fine jewelry had sentimental value and helped to mark special occasions, JA said.