We’ve weathered the worst of the pandemic and come out with new ideas about doing business and relating to customers and employees, but there is still a great deal of uncertainty and change ahead for jewelry retailers.
The pandemic will still be the main driver of retail trends in 2022, with many trends that defined 2020 and 2021 continuing to evolve. Emergency measures that became necessities during the pandemic, such as shopping online for everything and curbside pickup, have become the new normal. Furthermore, Millennial and Gen Z consumers will soon make up the majority of jewelry consumers, and their preferences will redefine the industry in 2022 and beyond. So what should jewelry retailers be on the lookout for as the year unfolds? Here are five retail trends coming in 2022.
Between 2019 and 2021, the percentage of luxury goods purchased online jumped from 12% to 22%. Consumers were already turning more and more toward online shopping before the pandemic, but widespread lockdowns and travel restrictions accelerated the shift. Consumers show no sign of reverting to pre-pandemic practices. A web presence and an ecommerce platform are already vital components of any business, and social commerce makes shopping online even easier by allowing consumers to make purchases directly from their social media apps without having to leave and visit another website. If you’re not already experimenting with Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping, 2022 is the time to dive in.
Another trend accelerated by the pandemic is Buy Online, Pickup In Store (BOPIS). With so many consumers conducting research online and acclimated to the convenience of in-store pickup, this is another trend that is here to stay. If you’ve been improvising your approach to BOPIS, systematize it in 2022. Integrate in-store and online channels with inventory management software, develop BOPIS policies and procedures, and train your employees to carry out these procedures so that every customer gets the same quality experience whether shopping online, in-person, or some combination of the two.
Millennial consumers are entering middle age and older members of Gen Z are now in their mid-20s. The preferences and attitudes of these two generations are reshaping every aspect of society, and the jewelry industry is no different. By 2025, Millennial and Gen Z consumers will account for 70% of all luxury sales. Now is the time to begin building trust with these consumers.
These younger consumers are concerned with supporting businesses whose values align with their own, and these generations are overwhelmingly concerned about the environment. Along with the 4Cs, they will be judging their gemstones by a fifth C: carbon footprint. They will want to know about your production process, your sourcing, your supply chain, and, in the lab-grown market, where and how your diamonds were grown. They are less loyal to brands than previous generations, but they will give their support to companies that practice their ideals of social and environmental justice. But they’re also smart enough to discern token gestures from true commitment, so it’s important to be honest and transparent and avoid “greenwashing.”
Consumers are more interested than ever in expressing themselves through their appearance. No longer satisfied with readymade jewelry with a designer name attached, consumers in 2022 will be looking for unique pieces, or pieces that speak to them on a personal level.
Personalization extends beyond merchandise to the shopping experience as a whole, as well. This means producing targeted marketing not just for a demographic, but for individual customers, based on your interactions or communications with them.
Finally, 2021’s hottest trend will, unfortunately, continue to cause headaches in 2022. From COVID-19 outbreaks to labor shortages to inflation to fluctuations in supply and demand, the global supply chain is still under unparalleled stress. Many retailers will be investing in their supply chain by updating software, seeking out alternative suppliers (including local suppliers to reduce shipping costs), and prioritizing crucial orders such as seasonal items even if it means paying more for shipping.
The trends to expect in 2022 reflect the transformative times we live in, and the accelerated pace of that transformation. If 2020 and 2021 were a time to reflect on what was important to us, 2022 is a time to turn those reflections into concrete actions that address the new needs of consumers. Our customers want convenient, secure, and personalized services. They want good value for their money, but value doesn’t just mean the lowest price. It means convenience, social consciousness, and a humanizing touch.