Why Millenials ARE Buying Diamonds
By now, most people in the jewelry industry have heard about – and some even read – The Economist article. Tone-deaf and befuddling-ly obtuse as it may be, it sent a minor ripple of panic throughout the jewelry world. Why aren’t Millennials buying diamonds? Well before everyone goes full Chicken Little, we’d like to counter: Why Millennials ARE buying diamonds.
Not a Homogenous Group
First, let’s dive right into the Millennial moniker. We’re alternately praised for revitalizing the restaurant industry and berated for dooming civilization in general. It’s a label none of us asked for, but we were bequeathed by Neil Howe and William Strauss and now everyone from Buzzfeed to marketing trade publications bash us over the head with it. It is catchy, and it is better than “Generation Y”, but the fact remains that it’s a catch-all term applied to the largest segment of society.
Any time you try to assign a label to a swath of the population that large, you’re going to come up short. There will always be exceptions. Not all Millennials are running around, catching Pokémon, aimlessly swiping right on Tinder and pursuing their 3rd Masters degree to avoid getting a Real Job™.
How do we know? Our staff is largely made up of the dreaded Millennials. As is 80% of our leadership. And you know what, sometimes you do just need to keep an eye out for a Snorlax on your lunch break. It hasn’t stopped any of us from building a gorgeous, state of the art, high-end engagement ring shopping experience. Which reminds us.
Our Existence is All The Proof We Need
We opened this store specifically to meet the demands of our Millennial customers. We are mostly Millennials because A) we wanted to approach this business as peers, as coaches, as your friend in-the-know who can hook you up with a gorgeous engagement ring at a great price. And B) as a natural result of our generation making up 53.5% of the working population most of our team is – you guessed it – Millennial. So yes, we can get jobs (ones we love) and those jobs pay us in actual human money. And while our spending habits do differ from generations before, there are certain things that remain important to us, where we’re happy to spend said human money.
The American Dream Isn’t Dead
There’s a lot of chatter about the sharing economy, and how Millennials don’t prioritize ownership. While that’s all well and good for cars (thank you, Uber) and formal dresses to wear to the 1800 weddings we attend a year (thank you, Rent The Runway – and double parenthetical((what are all these weddings we constantly attend if no one is buying engagement rings or getting married??)), it doesn’t quite apply to engagement rings. A Bag Borrow or Steal model for e-rings just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be the next big thing.
And when it comes to the big parts of the American Dream, Millennials still want to own it. Namely, housing. We want to own homes. The purchase timeframe takes longer, thanks to external factors like student loans, slimmer employment prospects, or the higher percentage of populations moving back to American cities, where renting is more prevalent. But it still ranks as highly important.
And for our clientele, we see the same thing with marriage. Couples are waiting longer to get married – there’s no doubt about that. But while the average age of first time brides and grooms has climbed, the average total has stayed the same. Our couples still want to get married. They still want the big wedding. And they still want the big, shiny ring, to seal the deal.
This isn’t to say that every Millennial couple walks into our store in search of a 3 carat princess cut diamond that they’d like to pay cash for (though our unique local culture does provide for that scenario more often than you’d think.) But our couples do want a beautiful ring they’ll treasure for a lifetime when they’re making this big life decision. They just shop differently.
Again – that’s why we opened Diamonds by Raymond Lee. We know they (we) want a different diamond shopping experience. So we made it easy for our younger couples.
Millennials aren’t going to just walk into a jewelry store and say “pick me a good one” like the generation before might have. Our interest in the product, its origins, its deeper meaning and individual details does make for a longer purchasing process. We’re more likely to buy a ring in 2-3 visits, rather than just one day. But it doesn’t mean we’re not buying diamonds. Just thinking it through more thoroughly.
And why shouldn’t we? When $10,000 is a lot of money to you, you’re going to be pickier about how you spend it, as opposed to someone who has significantly more than their engagement ring budget set aside for their other hopes and dreams. Like our older couples that already own a home (or two) and a boat, and have the car they want, and their kids are grown. Yeah, they’re a lot quicker to buy a diamond. They’re in an entirely different life stage.
A millennial couple is just getting started, and wants to make sure the things that matter to them are prioritized properly. A diamond is still a priority, it’s just one that they consider more carefully, scrutinize the pros and cons, and figure out a smart and responsible way to pay for it.
So, The Economist’s sweeping generalizations generated a ton of reactionary articles (guilty as charged) but rather than pick apart their flawed reasoning for why our generation just won’t buy diamonds, we argue the opposite. Millennials ARE buying diamonds.
And they’re doing it at Diamonds by Raymond Lee.