For Engagement Rings, Many Couples Shop

The Knot’s latest survey on
engagement rings and bridal jewelry shows that local, independent jewelers
remain the top pick among younger couples when it comes time to select their
engagement ring.

Data from The Knot’s 2013 Engagement and Jewelry
Study
showed that 42 percent of couples buy their engagement ring from an
independent jeweler in their area, up from 40 percent the last time the surveyed
was fielded, in 2011.

National and regional chain stores were the second
most popular choice, cited by 34 percent of respondents, down from 35 percent in
2011. According to the study, Kay Jewelers is the top among chains for
engagement rings, with the Sterling Jewelers-operated stores cited by 27 percent
of respondents.

Only 9 percent of those surveyed said they bought their
fiancée’s engagement ring online.

While independent retailers are
concerned with losing business to e-tailers, the reasons young men said they
didn’t shop online for an engagement ring run parallel to the advantages cited
by brick-and-mortar retailers: the chance to see the diamond in person and
continuing customer service.

The top reason the men said they didn’t want
to buy online was that they wanted to see the ring and/or stone in person before
purchasing (69 percent), followed by concerns over making such a significant
purchase online (42 percent) and limited customer service (35 percent). A total
of 33 percent of men surveyed said they needed more personal attention than the
Internet could provide and 6 percent wanted to be able to show their fiancée the
ring before proposing.

Of those who did buy an engagement ring online,
Blue Nile remained the most popular site, cited by 21 percent of survey
respondents, down from 27 percent in 2011. The Seattle-based online retailer
lost ground to Amazon.com, which was cited by 7 percent of respondents, up from
3 percent in 2011.

While many engagement ring shoppers turned to local
retailers because of the chance for solid customer service, the survey also
showed that the independents were not following up as much as they could have
post-purchase.

According to the study, only 49 percent of brides said
that they had heard from the retailer since the engagement ring purchase, with
most contacting them with information about care and cleaning (23 percent),
their satisfaction with the engagement (22 percent) and information about
upcoming sales or merchandise (19 percent).

The study points to the fact
that retailers may be missing opportunities for follow-up sales, as 81 percent
of brides buy jewelry to wear on their wedding day and 59 percent buy it as a
gift for their bridesmaids. In addition, the study showed that one-third of
grooms buy jewelry for the big day, mostly cufflinks and watches.

“Half
of retailers miss the opportunity to develop a loyal customer,” the study
notes.

Other highlights of the study included the following:


Tradition is alive.
A total of 86 percent of grooms surveyed said they
popped the question with the ring in hand, 88 percent said the words, “Will you
marry me?” and 74 percent asked for the father’s or both parents’ permission
before proposing. In addition, 94 percent of grooms had the actual engagement
ring in hand while proposing. A total of 4 percent used a “stand-in” and only 2
percent didn’t have a ring.

— Brides-to-be are involved.
Sixty-three percent of brides said that they dropped hints or discussed the ring
with their significant other prior to the proposal (36 percent) or actually
shopped and purchased the ring together as a couple (27 percent). A total of 36
percent said the ring was a complete surprise.

— They are looking
online.
The Internet was the No. 1 influencer of brides’ ring choices,
followed by jewelers/salespeople, friends/family and wedding magazines. Not
surprisingly, the vast majority of these young brides have either a smartphone
and/or tablet computer, and they used them to research diamond engagement ring
styles (27 percent), share hints with their fiancé (20 percent), browse
designers or retailers (19 percent) or share ideas with friends and family (17
percent).

— Men will do some legwork. The grooms surveyed spent
an average of 4.4 months researching the ring choice and 3.4 months shopping for
it, visiting an average of four retailers and looking at a total of 24 rings.
The quality of the diamond, the style and the price are the top three factors
influencing the man’s choice while the woman is concerned with the
style/setting, cut/shape and the stone quality, in that order.


Still rounding it out.
Round diamonds remain the most popular pick for
center stones (55 percent) followed by princess-cut diamonds at 28 percent. Both
cushion (5 percent) and Asscher cuts (3 percent) experienced slight increases in
popularity since the 2011 survey. Metal-wise, white gold remains the
overwhelming pick for engagement rings at 72 percent, with platinum (15 percent)
and yellow gold (6 percent) rounding out the top three.

The Knot
conducted its engagement and jewelry study in February and March, surveying
14,000 engaged or recently married U.S. brides and 1,750 grooms engaged within
the past 12 months. Most were college educated, with annual household incomes of
$55,000 to $68,000. The average age of the women surveyed was 27 to 28 while the
men were 28 to 29.

(Source: National Jeweler, 07/23/13)

Author: alisonsawhill

Marketing and Advertising Manager, 20+ years of success, working with clients on a local, regional and national level. Experienced in strategy, development and execution of clients marketing plans using all media tools, including Radio, Internet, Social Media, Events and Promotions.

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