Women are buying themselves more jewelry, the team at Lyst, the world’s largest fashion search platform, has found. Whether it’s the result of increased female agency, greater economic empowerment, or the ease and temptations of online shopping and social media, “the percentage of women compared to men on Lyst who purchase women’s jewelry has increased 14% from 2016 to 2017,” Sarah Tanner, Lyst’s US Public Relations Director, says.
“I’ve started calling it the ‘treat yo-self’ trend,” she jokes. Among jewelry professionals, its more official name is “female self-purchase” and it’s a big topic of conversation, as a potential way to attract millennial customers and bring in more revenue. Last September, The De Beers Group identified “the self-purchase trend as one of the clearest opportunities for future growth” in its 2016 Diamond Insight Report. In February, Racked published an article called “The New Tiffany & Co. Needs Women,” in which Chavie Lieber reported that attracting female self-purchasers was one major cornerstone of the international heritage jeweler’s upcoming strategy.
Now, Lyst is sharing that women make a whopping 78% of their women’s jewelry purchases. However, this doesn’t mean they’re buying diamonds or other precious stones; in fact, the team at Lyst has found that women are likely to spend less on individual pieces than men, but that they buy up to three times more jewelry. Last year, male shoppers spent an average of $327 per necklace, while females generally spent just over half that, or $176.
This suggests that women are beginning to shop for jewelry the way they shop for things like shoes and purses, regarding it as an accessible, and justifiable indulgence. Historically, jewelry was positioned as something that men bought for their girlfriends and wives, as a way to express love and acknowledge milestones, which likely accounts for the higher price per piece that male shoppers on Lyst are still willing to spend.
Yet there are certainly high-rolling female shoppers out there. This year, two women purchased the Repossi White Noise Choker on Lyst, which retails for $38,300.
Tanner reports that in general, jewelry is a growing category for Lyst, with online sales rising 122% between 2015 and 2016, and even higher, to 178%, when comparing sales so far in 2017 to the same time last year. Notably, beyond the predictable uptick around the winter holidays, “there’s no discernable ‘hot period,’” she says. “This means that traditional ranges of time such as Valentine’s Day are no longer hot tickets for the industry in the way they were 20 years ago.”
As many jewelry professionals will acknowledge, the industry is changing, with ecommerce marking an enormous shift in the way its products are sold. The role that economically independent women will play in this transformation has been unclear, but is only just beginning to come into focus.