Jewelers of America released a new study.

The jewelry purchase funnel is different from other high-priced luxury items, with the retail jeweler remaining a critical and trusted part of the purchase process, according to new research.

Jewelers of America on Thursday released the results of its U.S. consumer and retail research study conducted by Provoke Insights. It was a two-prong survey polling consumers and jewelers.

The study found that 64 percent of consumers who bought jewelry visited a jewelry store to speak to a jeweler during the research process, 26 percent more than other luxury items, according to a press release. Consumers who speak to a jeweler during the research process are also more likely to buy from a local store rather than online.

"When it comes to purchasing jewelry, the results of our survey show that for consumers, seeing is believing and they still rely the on the expertise and knowledge of their jeweler," David J. Bonaparte, president and CEO of Jewelers of America, said in the release. "The jewelry shopping experience is different from other luxury purchases and even in the rise of e-commerce, customers increasingly prioritize the in-store shopping experience."

Highlights from Jewelers of America's Fine Jewelry Industry Consumer and Retail Market Study:

Consumer Insights

  • Consumers say they will be most likely to give gifts of gold (40 percent) followed by sterling (32 percent), colored gems and pearls (32 percent) in the next year.
  • 50 percent of consumers think that fine jewelry has sentimental value and helps to mark special occasions.
  • 43 percent of consumers purchased or received jewelry as a gift in the past year.
  • 34 percent of people plan to purchase jewelry in the next year.
  • 22 percent have purchased jewelry for themselves.
  • 57 percent of consumers have a piece of jewelry that was passed down to them as a family heirloom.
  • Gold and sterling silver jewelry are primary self-purchase choices (56 percent and 40 percent, respectively) while gemstone and diamond jewelry are more desirable to give or receive as gifts.

Retailer Insights

  • 39 percent of retail jewelers cite e-commerce as their biggest competition.
  • Jewelry retailers are still competing with no-tax offerings on e-commerce sites.
  • Just 34 percent of retail jewelers have an ecommerce site. However, they are strengthening the in-store experience with well-trained, knowledgeable sales personnel and exemplary customer service.

In the first phase of the research, Provoke Insights developed an open-ended online survey to gather insights from 257 association members — retail jewelers and suppliers. A second online survey was conducted among 2,019 consumers, ages 22 to 59 with a household income of $50,000 or more, to determine buying habits, attitudes and interest in fine jewelry and luxury products.

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