Expert: U.S. Jewelers Have Lost Focus On Critical Bridal Sales

The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond. (Richard Drew – AP)
taylor jewels1
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond. (Richard Drew - AP)

According to Stevan Buxbaum, president of Buxbaum Jewelry Advisors, U.S. jewelers lost touch with the bridal business, an essential ingredient to a successful jeweler.

In a September 21 column for RapaportsDiamonds.net, Buxbaum says the loss of focus on the bridal biz comes after the boom-and-bust cycle that began with the subprime mortgage explosion of the mid-2000s, but says given the need to build lasting relationships with coming generations of customers, jewelers need to return their focus to this all-important core competency.

“To have a balanced business today, jewelers should make sure that at least 40 percent of their assortments are bridal-oriented,” he stated. “Simply put, today’s bridal customer is the non-bridal customer of the future. Jewelers that fail to build relationships with bridal customers today will suffer in the long term.”

According to Buxbaum, jewelers responded to the ups and downs of the economy, and lost sight of what they do best. He says that during the most recent boom-and-bust cycle, many U.S. jewelers responded to the upswing by focusing on branded, fashion merchandise at higher price points in a bid to capture consumers’ excessive discretionary income. And with the start of “Recession” again, the focus shifted yet, this time to affordable, lower-end pieces.

Buxbaum says that it’s vital to companies to keep a focus on the bridal business and notes that more than 2 million marriages are conducted every year, according to the federal government, and that surveys by bridal-industry magazines and websites reveal that the average cost of an engagement ring today is around $5,000, which means the bridal business is worth billions of dollars.

He also notes another reason it’s important not to sever ties.

“When it comes to building a new generation of customer and forging ties that will last years, decades or even a lifetime, bridal still wins over fashion,” Buxbaum writes and says that couples often make this purchase together, meaning building relationships with at least two people.