8 Things to Know About That Next Generation … Z

SurveysSep 16, 2019

8 Things to Know About That Next Generation … Z

They want to change the world, live authentically and celebrate diversity.

London—It might seem crazy to start looking at Generation Z and their habits. After all, some people are still trying to figure out millennials.

And yet their growing purchasing power can’t be ignored—Gen Z’s spending is estimated at between $29 and $143 billion—so the time to start talking about how they think and buy and has come.

Gen Z is the generation immediately following Generation Y (millennials), generally classifying those born between about 1995 and 2010, meaning its oldest members are in their early 20s.

To offer the industry critical information about this demographic, CIBJO’s Jonathan Kendall, president of its marketing and education commission, released a special report ahead of its 2019 Congress highlighting the habits of the next consumer generation.

Here are eight insights to keep in mind.

1. Social media is a vital part of their lives.

This isn’t news to anyone and yet it’s one of the most important generation characteristics because it affects so much of their behavior.

It allows them to stay in touch with the global community in ways no other generation before them has been able to and also allows them to compare products, experiences and opinions.

Their travel plans are also heavily influenced by social media, with images, links to cool places to stay and sights to see having a major effect on where they go on vacation. They’re also spontaneous in their planning, booking usually no more than three months prior to travel.

The opportunity in this space for jewelers is great, Kendall argues, if product and messaging across social channels meets their aspirations and desires for unique experiences and authenticity, offering a limitless potential client base.

2. They want careers that will change the world.

Research shows that 40 percent of this demographic want to become entrepreneurs, with about half of those saying they want to invent something “revolutionary.”

This means, Kendall says in the report, that there exists an opportunity for the industry to support budding entrepreneurs by providing social entrepreneurship programs that offer mentorships, networking or community support.

“We need to encourage younger people to excel and, in doing so, bring into our ranks the new talent which is vital to a vibrant future,” he says.

3. Their No. 1 concern is the environment.

As such, secondhand shopping fully aligns with the beliefs of the sustainably-minded Gen Z, allowing them to keep up with

trends while also shopping responsibly.

In fact, one in three members of the demographic expect to buy secondhand clothes, shoes or accessories, which is up 46 percent from the amount reported in 2017. This helps explain the popularity of sites like Poshmark and Depop.

The popularity of the sector is expected to push the re-sale category to $51 billion by 2023.

The jewelry industry is in a good position to benefit from this market, Kendall says, but notes that it needs to find a new way to market to best speak to this consumer group and find ways to rework old pieces into exciting new jewelry.

“This is no longer about cheap-looking secondhand pawn shops,” he states. “This is about a proud new marketing message from leading jewelers, stating that many of their fabulously designed new products incorporate secondhand elements.”

4. They want to look authentic.

Gen Z wants to achieve a retro style, but they want to do it by buying products that actually come from eras past, Kendall notes.

So, jewelers and brands should consider collaborating with vintage brands to create retro products with a modern feel and be sure to tell the story authentically, or seek out actual vintage jewelry items and offer them at stores alongside new merchandise.

5. They’re a gender-aware and gender-diverse population.

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted this year, about 35 percent of Gen Z said they know someone who prefers for others to use gender-neutral pronouns when referring to them.

Members of this generation don’t want to be classified; they want to be fluid.

What’s more, gender neutral products, campaigns and spokespeople are becoming much more commonplace.

The jewelry industry needs to adapt to this thinking as well and be able to step back from men’s jewelry and women’s jewelry to think along gender-fluid lines, Kendall says in his report.

6. They also want to celebrate diversity and imperfection.

Gen Z wants the visual media it sees to reflect the diverse and varied world around them; authenticity and inclusivity need to be carried throughout marketing.

This is true especially when it comes to the models and people featured in ads—they want to see people of different colors, physical features, ages and styles. It’s also important to note: not only do the models not need to be perfect, they shouldn’t be. Gen Z wants to celebrate imperfections and will see campaigns championin this idea as authentic.

7. They rely heavily on word of mouth.

Members of Gen Z prefer recommendations from people they trust, like family and friends.

More than 80 percent of Gen Z customers read reviews before they buy products. Among Gen Z women, about 21 percent read more than 10 reviews before purchasing.

There’s a huge opportunity for jewelry here in getting the demographic group to talk about their experiences to others to build trust in a business.

8. They’re financially savvy—and wary.

Seeing the impact that debt has had on their parents’ generation, Gen Z is wary of buying on credit; they’re more likely to save up for a piece of jewelry and buy when they’re ready than to put it on a credit card.

This means jewelers shouldn’t rely on financing deals to entice younger consumers to buy.

With that noted, they are prepared to splurge; it just has to be worth it for them. The more value added the better, whether that comes from its perceived social value or the environmental responsibility behind it.

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

Brian and Jessie Mann
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
Longtime D.C. Jeweler Brian Mann Dies at 70

Mann, whose family’s jewelry store was located inside the Pentagon, is remembered for being a thoughtful champion of the industry.

Tudor store in Denver
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
The 1916 Company Opens New Tudor Boutique

The 500-square-foot boutique is located in Denver’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

Messika’s So Move Max Necklace
CollectionsJul 19, 2024
Piece of the Week: Messika’s ‘So Move Max’ Necklace

Dance all night long with the “So Move Max” set’s necklace.

Untitled design.jpg
Brought to you by
The End of an Era? Lab-Grown Diamonds' Journey Towards Price Stability

As the demand for lab-grown diamond jewelry may still be increasing, the most notable change we are likely to see is price stabilization.

Julien Tornare and Antoine Pin
WatchesJul 18, 2024
TAG Heuer, Hublot Will Have New CEOs

Luxury giant LVMH is reshuffling the leadership in its watches division.

Weekly QuizJul 18, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these questions.
Take the Quiz
Etsy billboard rendering in NYC
MajorsJul 18, 2024
New Etsy Campaign Prioritizes Creators Amid Backlash

Sellers and shoppers have spoken out against a rise in mass-produced merchandise on the platform meant to highlight handmade goods.

Ariana Grande Modeling in Swarovski Jewelry
MajorsJul 18, 2024
Swarovski Names Ariana Grande as Its New Brand Ambassador

The celebrity will star in Swarovski’s holiday campaign.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Grizzly emerald
SourcingJul 18, 2024
Grizzly Emerald Auction Garners $32.5 million

The miner said an 835-carat emerald saw “stiff competition” in its July sale.

Tahnee Barbee, Gigi Sui, and Daniela Villacorta
Events & AwardsJul 18, 2024
MJSA Education Foundation Announces 3 Scholarship Winners

The winners were awarded $3,000 each to pursue a professional career in jewelry making and design.

Radhika Merchant’s Wedding Portrait
EditorsJul 17, 2024
6 Lavish Looks from the Ambani Wedding

Feast your eyes on the elaborate jewels worn during the wedding celebration of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

Smiling Rocks Haute Couture Dream Necklace
Lab-GrownJul 17, 2024
Lab-Grown Diamond ‘Dream’ Necklace Sells for $122K at Charity Auction

The piece, created by Smiling Rocks, was the top lot at the recent Ormeley Dinner.

Diavik Diamond Mine solar power plant
SourcingJul 17, 2024
Rio Tinto’s Diamond Production Down 28% in Q2

The company’s sole remaining diamond operation, Diavik, produced 702,000 carats of diamonds, down from 970,000 a year ago.

Buccellati high jewelry earrings
FinancialsJul 17, 2024
Richemont’s Q1 Jewelry Sales Up 2%

In contrast, the luxury giant’s watch sales fell 14 percent.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest.
Events & AwardsJul 16, 2024
2024 AGTA Spectrum Awards Open for Entries

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest and the deadline for entries has just been extended.

Macy’s Herald Square store
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Macy’s Ends Buyout Talks

The retailer will not be making a deal with Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital Management, opting to focus on its turnaround plan.

Crime police cars
CrimeJul 16, 2024
Thieves Nab $500K in Jewelry in Calif. Group Smash-and-Grab

The Berkeley robbery follows two other Bay Area robberies involving multiple suspects, one in May and one in June.

National Jeweler columnist Lilian Raji
ColumnistsJul 16, 2024
The PR Adviser: Awareness Starts With Your Online Store

Lilian Raji discusses the importance of having an intentional website design that aligns with your brand or store’s goals.

Catbird The Met collection
CollectionsJul 16, 2024
Catbird Debuts New Met Collection

It’s the second collaborative offering from the jewelry brand and the New York City art museum.

Craftsman holding Pomellato Arengario necklace
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Pomellato Acquires Valenza Setting Lab

The Kering-owned brand bought VSL to reinforce its manufacturing capabilities.

Ewa Abrams, Kering’s new president for the Americas
MajorsJul 16, 2024
Kering Appoints New President for Americas Region

The luxury conglomerate promoted General Counsel Ewa Abrams to the role, succeeding Laurent Claquin.

Tanzanite ring
MajorsJul 15, 2024
Signet Falls 11 Spots on NRF’s ‘Top 100’ Retailers List

The jewelry giant came in at No. 67 on the list, down from No. 56 last year.

 2025 Gem Awards logo
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
Nominations Are Open for the 2025 Gem Awards

Submissions in the categories of Jewelry Design, Media Excellence, and Retail Excellence will be accepted through Aug. 23.

Sunlit’s Sun Goddess Supreme Ring and Pyramid Rutilated Quartz Necklace
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
NY Now Expands Emerging Designer Segment for Its Summer Market

Curated at Luxury Lifestyle will build on the former initiative, the Emerging Fine Jewelry Designer Incubator.

Collage of Caitlin Albritton and her jewelry
Events & AwardsJul 15, 2024
Halstead Announces 2024 Grant Winner

Caitlin Albritton won the 19th annual Halstead Grant for emerging jewelry businesses.

Myne London
CollectionsJul 12, 2024
Myne London to Support Malala Fund

The emerald supplier will donate a percentage of sales from its “Star Power” earrings to the nonprofit in support of girls’ education.

The Jewelry Symposium logo
Events & AwardsJul 12, 2024
The Jewelry Symposium Is Looking for Speakers

TJS is seeking jewelry manufacturing and technology experts to speak at its 2025 event.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy