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 artifacts 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 National Jewel Day, which falls on March 13th every year, 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? Which holidays drive the most demand? And how has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we shop for jewelry?
To find out the answer to these questions and more, our data science team analyzed market demand for gems, jewels, and jewelry on Amazon over the past few years.
Which types of jewelry were the most popular in 2021?
We started by examining total market demand in all of 2021 for different types of jewelry. Here’s how demand for the top four most popular types compared to one another:
Note, these percentages do not represent the percent of overall total demand, but are simply comparing the total demand distributed among these four primary jewelry types.
Of these four primary types of jewelry, earrings were the most popular, making up 41% of the combined demand among these top four.
Rings were also quite popular, though, earning more demand than necklaces and bracelets combined.
Next we examined different types of gems and jewels.
Rose quartz was the most in-demand gemstone on this list, seeing an impressive 88% more demand than second place amethyst.
Diamonds, which you might expect to top such a list, came in third. This may be the result of weaning demand or a simple indicator that consumers are far more likely to turn to jewelry stores when shopping for 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 2021:
Based on our previous charts you might assume that a type of diamond earring might be the most popular item on this chart, but pearl necklaces were far and away the most popular type of jewelry, earning far more demand than the second most popular item: rose quartz necklaces.
The next five most popular items were all rings: moonstone, opal, diamond, emerald, and turquoise.
Interestingly, while earrings are the most popular type of jewelry, earrings with jewels in them are decidedly out. The only specific type of earring on this list were pearl earrings, just barely cracking the top 25.
When is market demand highest for jewelry?
Next, we examined jewelry as a general term to see when demand was highest throughout the year:
We see the first bump in demand for jewelry take place around Valentine’s Day, but it’s actually Mother’s Day that brings the first real surge, with demand rising by 30% during the week of May 2nd compared to the week prior.
Demand then drops significantly for the next several weeks until Amazon Prime Day brings yet another significant spike before a more steady decrease throughout the rest of the year until the holiday shopping season brings a significant and sustained surge in demand.
Here’s a look at how the year impacted demand for different types of jewelry:
Beginning with the start of the year, necklaces got the biggest bump during Valentine’s Day, but the holiday was surprisingly mellow for the items in our analysis. As for Mother’s Day, once again necklaces got the biggest bump with a 56% increase in demand, and this time only rings didn’t receive a bump during the holiday.
Prime Day, meanwhile, had a major impact on rings, with demand surging by a stunning 240%. Now, we worked hard to ensure that this analysis was capturing demand for rings as a type of jewelry, but some of this surge may be from a combination of interest in other types of rings (like the “ring” doorbell camera and “ring lights,” etc.).
Summertime is really big for earrings, while bracelets experienced a midsummer spike of their own.
November was particularly large for rings, while the holiday shopping season seems to benefit bracelets and necklaces more than earrings.
Impact of COVID-19 on market demand for jewelry
The charts in the previous section clearly showed how demand for jewelry looked throughout last year, but we next wanted to examine the past few years to see if the pandemic has had any long term effects on demand for luxuries like jewelry.
To find out, we compared monthly demand for some of our broader terms over the past few years.
We see that demand for jewelry was up in 2020 compared to 2019, but took a huge hit during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since we’re examining Amazon demand, this is clearly a reflection of shoppers tightening their purse strings as opposed to the impact of brick and mortar jewelry stores closing up during lockdown.
Despite this, however, 2020 did see demand both rebound and remain higher than pre-pandemic levels throughout the year until December.
Last year, meanwhile, saw demand stay much steadier throughout the year, and frequently at levels even higher than 2020, with major exceptions being the first two pre-pandemic months of 2020, Mother’s Day, and October.
Interestingly, December 2019 remains the highest single month out of any in the analysis, suggesting that the pandemic may have cooled demand for jewelry when it comes to shopping for gifts during the holidays.
Let’s take this same view for different types of jewelry.
Once again, we see a big drop in demand in the first month of the pandemic, although this time one that remains far more permanent. While 2020 did see demand rise during Mother’s Day, it’s remained far behind 2019’s levels all the way until November.
2021 saw demand surge to well beyond 2019 and 2020 levels during the summer months, but by September, it fell once again to below pre-pandemic levels.
It’s a very similar view for necklaces as well, with demand dropping in March of 2020, this time rebounding to at, or slightly above, 2019’s levels.
2021, meanwhile, experienced a much stronger spring and Mother’s Day, but saw demand drop below both previous years by August. And even as demand rose again in November and December, it still fell behind.
The pandemic appears to have had a major impact on demand for bracelets. 2019 saw demand rise steadily from February to May, and peak again during the back to school shopping season.
In 2020, however, demand dropped in March and remained far behind 2019’s levels, receiving only a slight bump during Mother’s Day and no real increase during the back to school shopping season.
2021 did receive a slightly larger increase in July and December than 2020, but once again demand failed to ever match pre-pandemic levels.
Rings all experienced huge spikes in demand during the month of Prime Day in each of the previous three years, with 2019 seeing the largest such spike.
Aside from those, we once again see an immediate early-pandemic drop in demand in March 2020, where it remained consistently below the previous year. And in 2021 we also see demand by and large remaining close to 2020 levels.
Taking these views into account, it’s clear that COVID-19 had an impact on 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 Mother’s Day and the holiday season still significantly increase demand for jewelry of all shapes, sizes, colors, and value. We also saw that even the economic anxieties and two years of social distancing brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic weren’t enough to completely erase demand for certain types of jewelry.
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, get an assessment today.