Majority of American buyers still favour the in-store experience when purchasing diamonds where they receive expert advice and attention, but the environment must be safe, the De Beers Group revealed.
According to the group’s second Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, more than 62 per cent of US consumers would prefer buying diamond jewellery at a physical store over online shopping so retailers that are able to provide a safe and welcoming environment are likely to benefit in the weeks and months ahead.
The report seeks to highlight the evolving consumer perspective in the US in light of Covid-19.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers, remarked, “While consumers increasingly desire a diamond acquisition journey that blends the digital and physical, when it comes to making purchases, they still prefer the personalisation of the in-store experience, despite the pandemic.”
This is also the case with digital-savvy millennials and Gen-Z consumers, with 59 per cent of them saying they still want the in-store experience amid the pandemic and the consequent growth in online diamond jewellery sales.
The research, which surveyed 500 adult Americans, said safety in relation to health and hygiene is critical to ensuring consumers feel comfortable shopping in-store. Department stores were seen as the most trusted channel for ensuring appropriate safety measures by 39 per cent of consumers, while independent jewellers were considered the second most trusted, at 21 per cent.
In terms of safety measures, respondents were most concerned about limiting the number of customers in the store (68 per cent), providing hand sanitiser (66 per cent) and ensuring staff always wear face masks and gloves (64 per cent).
Other priorities were cleaning each piece of jewellery after being handled (53 per cent), requiring customers to wear face masks (48 per cent) and having screens to separate customers and sales associates (42 per cent).
Only four per cent of consumers said they would feel comfortable shopping with no safety measures in place.
Based on one-on-one interviews with jewellery retailers across the US, the report also highlighted a clear sense of optimism for the fourth-quarter sales season. Retailers remain cautious however about potential new outbreaks and the impact on consumer confidence when economic stimulus is wound up.
Retailers that reopened following lockdown experienced pent-up demand from consumers, driven by strong engagement ring sales, jewellery gifts being upgraded as an alternative to summer travel, and a stronger season than normal for graduation gifting, the report also revealed.