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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The 'Millennials’ Part 2 - insights Into What’s Shaping their Buying Habits

Angelka

By Chris Benham, co-founder and director of Inspired Jewellery Ltd.

Creating a luxury brand amid the information overload on the internet is increasingly becoming a challenge. As jewelry companies look to position themselves for the next generation of purchasers, I took the opportunity to two professionals in their early 20’s (the “Millennial Generation”) to share their views on what’s shaping their buying habits and how they are filtering through the holiday sale season madness.

In part one we heard from Hunter. Now we meet Angelka. They both provide valuable views into what’s important to them and insights into what investment jewelry companies need to make to win their trust and future business.

Angelka:
I think brands need to almost redefine themselves when marketing to millennials. With so much going on in our fast-paced lives, it’s extremely difficult to gain my attention if you’re not doing something interesting and memorable. Price is less of a determining factor, at least in the first instance to gain that attention. Brands and products need to connect with my personal values and lifestyle first and then offer incentives for me to buy their products and remain loyal.
Sustainability may seem like a buzz word to some people, but it is a value that is only going to grow in importance. Brands like The Earnest Workshop build their company ethos around sustainability and creating products that are of high quality, stand the test of time, yet have minimal impact on the environment. It is a company that I only happened to have a chance encounter with, but one that will stay in my mind, and I now enjoy following their progress to see what new pieces of furniture they are making.
Quality is another deciding factor - but genuine quality. Trilogy skincare is an example of a product which, thanks to word of mouth, I know to be of high quality - you can’t get more genuine than the recommendations of trusted peers; therefore I don’t buy anything else, even though there are cheaper alternatives. Add to that their simplistic, natural, organic and sustainable focus, and you’ve got a brand that I love.
The sports and fitness clothing store Lululemon is another example of a brand creating a buzz by aligning themselves with the millennial lifestyle. They advocate a healthy, free-spirited way of living, focusing on making the most of experiences and living in the moment. They offer free yoga and barre classes. Their gear is still pretty expensive so I’m yet to buy anything - but it was top of my Christmas wish list, so they’re doing all the right things.
For me personally, working in marketing, I feed off brands that are doing clever things in the marketing space. Kiwi chocolate brand Whittakers, and Australian brand Mimco are always active on social media, engaging with their customers and above all, leading the trends. That’s another reality - especially for females my age - brands need to be perceived as style and trend leaders, not followers.
I feel that the discount madness is overwhelming and it’s causing me to not buy at all. Each day I receive up to 20 promotional emails - most of them I delete, and I know I should unsubscribe, especially from the daily deal website emails. Even daily deal sites that are focused on high-end offers from the likes of fashion brands don’t get much attention because the background and brand stories are missing. Interestingly, the experience-related deals such as dining out, holidays, flights and accommodation still appeal. We do like to get deals where it matters.
With technology, shopping has become a well-thought out process. Extensive research is carried out for most purchases to narrow down my choice to only a few brands or stores. While price is still a factor, if I didn’t do this research beforehand based on what brands and products appeal to me personally, I’d go out and feel lost amongst all the discounts and promotions going on at the same time. Shopping in general is being replaced by other activities - there is definitely a lifestyle shift amongst people my age to valuing quality over quantity and seeking leisure time activities other than shopping at malls and big retailers.
So while price can still be a determining factor in my daily purchases, brands that want my attention and loyalty need to reach me on a different level. As my disposable income increases, it will be those brands that are top of mind and that I ultimately purchase from, not the brands that are promoting 40% off in tacky flashing lights.
Jewelry News Network guest columnist, Chris Benham, is co-founder and director of Inspired Jewellery Ltd., Wellington, New Zealand, a global creative studio for specialist jewelry design. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

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