When it comes to self-expression, it’s hard to think of anything more tried and true than wearing jewelry. Carved shell beads estimated to be between 90,000 and 100,000 years old are the oldest known pieces of jewelry made by human beings, making jewelry one of the oldest types of archaeological artefacts in existence.
It’s no wonder, then, that jewelry has remained a consistently powerful and lucrative industry. Specific trends may change over time, but the desire to express yourself by wearing jewelry isn’t going anywhere.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, and because we love digging into data to uncover new ecommerce trends, we decided to do a deep dive into online demand for jewelry: Which types of jewelry are the most popular online? When do people do the most online shopping for jewelry? Is Mother’s Day among the top periods for jewelry demand? And did COVID-19 change the way people shop for jewelry online?
To find out the answer to these questions and more, our data science team analyzed market demand for gems, jewels, and jewelry on Amazon for 2019 and 2020.
Which types of jewelry were the most popular in 2020?
We started by examining total market demand in all of 2020 for different types of jewelry.
Rings were easily the most popular type of jewelry, receiving 39% more consumer demand than chains, which were the next most popular.
Necklaces saw the third most demand, followed closely behind by earrings. Demand for fifth-place bracelets was 24% less than earrings.
Demand for these top five tops of jewelry items far outpaces most every other type of jewelry.
For comparison, we included chokers and broaches, both of which received a fraction of the demand as the top five items.
Next we examined different types of gems and jewels.
Unsurprisingly, diamonds were far and away the most popular of those we examined. Demand for diamonds was an impressive 128% higher than pearls.
In fact, diamonds and pearls were so ubiquitous, that the next two most popular items—jade and opal—received about a tenth as much demand as diamonds.
Finally, we combined terms from both of the above charts and examined hundreds of types of jewelry. Here are the top 25 in terms of total demand in 2020:
Based on our first two charts, you might assume that diamond rings would be the most popular item on this list, but diamond earrings actually edged them out for the top spot.
Pearl necklaces and pearl earrings were the third and fourth most popular items, then there was a significant drop before the fifth most popular item: diamond necklaces.
When is market demand highest for jewelry?
Next, we examined jewelry as combined category to see when demand was highest throughout the year:
Demand was high to start 2020, receiving a boost during the week of Valentine’s Day. In mid-March you can see clear evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on demand for jewelry. Again, this is online demand through the lens of the Amazon U.S. marketplace, so this was less about retail stores being shut down, and more about people tightening their pursestrings.
Demand began to rebound in mid-April before receiving a moderate Mother’s Day spike in May. Things remained consistent until bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels during the holiday shopping season.
Here’s when market demand was highest for different types of jewelry:
Demand was consistently higher for rings throughout the year. Interestingly, rings reached their peak in demand just after Christmas, unlike most other types of jewelry, which peak during the holiday shopping season.
For a more direct comparison between types of jewelry, here’s a view of the change in demand each day vs. the average day for each type.
Necklaces, bracelets, and earrings got the biggest Valentine’s Day boosts, while rings and chains were less popular during that holiday.
All jewelry types experienced similar drops in demand during the start of the pandemic, though the drop was less severe for rings.
Necklaces and bracelets were the most popular during Mother’s Day, and they received the biggest boost during the holiday shopping season as well.
Impact of COVID-19 on market demand for jewelry
The charts in the previous section clearly showed how demand for jewelry was impacted in the early weeks of the pandemic. As Americans prepared to shelter in place and braced for the unknown, luxuries like jewelry were far from a priority.
And while demand clearly rebounded in the months following, we wanted to dig deeper to see if COVID-19 had longer-term effects on jewelry demand despite that rebound.
To find out, we examined total monthly demand for each month of 2020 and compared it to the same months in 2019. Here’s what we found:
Demand for all types of jewelry in our analysis was up in January and February of 2020 compared to 2019. March saw total monthly demand drop to at, or just below, what they experienced in 2019.
In April, the first full month of the pandemic, nearly all types of jewelry experienced a year-over-year decline in demand. Bracelets experienced the largest drop at 15%, while necklaces, chains, and earrings all experienced more modest year-over-year declines.
Rings, on the other hand, actually experienced a 6% increase in demand in April 2020 than in April 2019.
COVID appears to have impacted each type of jewelry quite differently throughout the rest of 2020.
Demand for bracelets was down for every month of the year. Rings and bracelets experienced a drop in demand throughout the summer and fall, but rebounded somewhat during the holidays. Rings were least impacted initially, while demand for chains rebounded in May and remained above 2019 levels for the rest of the year.
Here’s the same view for jewels and gems:
Sapphires experienced the largest immediate pandemic dip, but pearls look to have experienced a larger overall year-over-year drop in demand.
Demand for emeralds in January 2020 was 92% higher than in January 2019, but by March year-over-year demand was down 31%, the steepest overall decline in the chart.
Jade appears to be the least negatively impacted by COVID. After a moderate decline in demand in April, demand recovered throughout the summer, and skyrocketed to an 87% increase in the month of December.
Diamonds, which are by far the most popular gemstone in our analysis, also only experienced a moderate dip in March, only to quickly recover to better than 2019 figures in late spring and early summer.
Taking both views into account, it’s clear that COVID-19 did impact market demand for jewelry, but not universally so. Some types of jewelry recovered quickly from an initial dip, while others struggled to recover at all.
A lesson for jewelry and fashion brands
Our analysis makes it clear that major holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and the holidays still significantly increase demand for jewelry of all shapes, sizes, colors, and value. We also saw that even the economic anxieties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic weren’t enough to erase demand for luxury items like diamonds and jewels.
Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.
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