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Citi Retail Services Study Reveals Jewelry Consumers’ Desire for Brick-And-Mortar Shopping and Financing Solutions

Physical retail ‘still shines bright,’ according to the findings.




(PRESS RELEASE) CHICAGO/NEW YORK – Citi Retail Services (CRS) released the results of a nationwide study of 1,000 U.S. adults revealing that despite the prevalence of online jewelry purchasing options, shoppers still prefer to purchase jewelry in-store. Among those consumers who have purchased jewelry, over two-thirds (68%) have purchased most or all of their jewelry in-store, compared to just 12% online, showing that within this industry, brick-and-mortar still shines bright.

While online purchasing offers convenience, nearly half (44%) of shoppers surveyed prefer the physical experience of being able to inspect and try on their jewelry in-person before buying.  And in turn, they’re spending more in-store. The survey found that 40% of consumers have bought a piece that cost at least $1,000 with the most expensive piece of jewelry averaging $2,269 — more than double the $1,099 average for online.

The survey also highlighted consumers’ preferences for financing options. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would be most likely to use financing options over other jewelry services. Consumer appetite for cross-brand financing solutions is also very strong, with more than two-thirds (69%) indicating they would be more likely to use a financing solution that could be utilized across multiple jewelry retailers, if they were to finance a jewelry purchase. Further, consumers indicated that they would be most likely to finance a jewelry purchase for the following milestones: anniversary (43%), wedding (34%), engagement (34%), graduation (15%) and a new baby (12%).

“As jewelry is such a personal item, buying in-store largely provides consumers with the confidence that comes after physically viewing and handling a product,” said Leslie McNamara, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Workforce Development at Citi Retail Services. “Also, consumers indicated the value they derive from interacting with employees while shopping, which is an ideal opportunity for retailers to discuss financing options, which over a quarter of consumers are likely to use.”

Other key survey findings include:

A Gem for You, A Gem for Me


While jewelry is still seen as an archetypal gift for loved ones, half (50%) of jewelry-purchasers – and 57% of millennials – have bought most or all of their jewelry for themselves, as opposed to receiving it as a gift.

However, gifting still carries a special significance – 58% of jewelry-owners obtained their favorite piece of jewelry as a gift, either from a partner, family member, or close friend.

Sparkle and Shine

In addition to financing options, 28% of consumers indicated a strong preference for additional jewelry services, including complimentary cleaning, such as polishing and removing signs of wear (49%), styling assistance (16%) and leasing or rental programs, such as borrowing for a short period of time (6%).

Online Bling

When it comes to buying jewelry online, consumers expressed that their hesitation has resulted from having experienced the following: jewelry looked different than expected (27%), not the correct size (19%), and jewelry didn’t arrive in time, such as for a birthday or holiday (14%).


“Retailers with an online presence would be wise to ensure that they have detailed descriptions and photos of their product offerings and are providing the option for expedited shipping so that consumers have higher confidence in making these purchases,” said McNamara.

Citi Retail Services is a leading payments provider to many of the most notable brands in retail. With a diverse footprint spanning across sectors, including big box, apparel, electronics, industrial, powersports and more, CRS is shaping the industry and helping to drive major transformations across the retail space. Informed by data and insights, Citi Retail Services offers partners expert tools and solutions to build customer loyalty, increase profitability and drive business growth. There are more than 9,000 dedicated CRS employees strategically located across the U.S. Citi Retail Services is backed by the global capital, strategic insights and leadership of Citi (NYSE: C).

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