Engagement Rings Get a Makeover with Personalized Styles Outshining Size

The popularity of television programs like “Say Yes to the Dress” and “The Bachelorette” show that people are still interested in the fashion and romance of a wedding, even if they’re not giving as much thought to actually being married.

So it’s surprising to hear Signet Jewelers Ltd. SIG, +2.39%   and Tiffany & Co.TIF, -0.63%   say that bridal sales are soft. Surprising, that is, until you consider some of the factors that are having an impact on bridal jewelry sales.

Signet Chief Executive Mark Light explained it through current events.

“We believe it’s something that is a consumer mindset issue that relates to bridal, and that they just want to get some stability and understand what’s going on as a whole in the world and what’s going on in the presidential election,” he said, according to a FactSet transcript.

Even at Tiffany’s, which is so closely tied to popping the question it has a “Tiffany setting” option among the engagement ring assortment, sales were off.

“The engagement jewelry and wedding band category also posted a relatively modest sales decline this quarter relative to last year,” said Mark Aaron, vice president of investor relations for Tiffany, on the company’s Thursday earnings call, according to FactSet.

Besides the piece of jewelry itself, some experts say the shopper’s focus on experience over “stuff” is also having an impact on the approach to the entire wedding event. Brands should do more than just help shoppers buy a ring, using social media as well as the stores themselves to get connected and stay connected, suggests Chris Paradysz, chief executive officer of PMX Agency, a global marketing firm.

“There’s a natural inclination to assume that post-wedding, all the marketing stops. But this is a social experience,” said Paradysz.

Post-wedding, when photos are delivered to the now-married couple and other wedding-related things are still happening, are a good opportunity to go beyond just bridal jewelry and into other items – like a silver baby rattle, perhaps – that shops like Tiffany sells.

“You have a generation of people that’s much broader than millennials who are shopping differently,” said Paradysz. “If that experience isn’t great, that’s not special.”


Read the full article here in MarketWatch.

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