For merchants in the jewelry ecommerce space, business is booming — and that’s just as true of fine jewelry as it is for cheap costume jewelry.

In fact, consulting firm McKinsey estimates that the global fine jewelry market is expected to grow from $280B in value in 2019 to $340-360B by 2025 — and of that, up to 21% of sales are likely to take place online.

Across all online jewelry purchases, average order value is growing: Digital Commerce 360 found that the median ticket price in online jewelry sales had jumped from $269 in 2021 to $326 in 2022. Some of that rise may be attributed to inflation, but it’s also clear that customers are buying more jewelry products online than they had in the past.

So how can your jewelry ecommerce store make the most of the industry growth? 

Here’s what you need to know to succeed, whether you’re launching or scaling your online jewelry brand:

Younger shoppers dominate the online jewelry market – so make sure you’re catering to their needs.

Close to half (48.9%) of shoppers who buy jewelry from the Top 1000 online merchants are 34 or younger, compared to 7.8% of shoppers aged 65 or older. Younger shoppers tend to be far more comfortable buying online, even for high-end purchases like fine jewelry.

As such, make sure that you’re targeting this age group with your product selection and your marketing strategy, and go where they are online. Advertising on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram will help you raise awareness among this valuable demographic, as will investing in influencer partnership programs. They’re also more likely to make purchases directly from their phones, so make sure that your site is mobile-optimized so they can check out easily. 

“I can buy myself flowers” — self-gifting is in.

While jewelry is traditionally thought of as a gift for a loved one, today’s consumers are even more likely to buy something special for themselves.

Hearst UK found that their audience spends more on jewelry for themselves than they do for others, and 58% said it’s because they like to treat themselves.

Lean into this mentality with your marketing, and spotlight your jewels as a special indulgence that shoppers should buy for themselves, no special occasion required — after all, don’t they deserve it?

Omnichannel retail and virtual try-on services help customers feel more comfortable with online sales.

Some customers don’t feel comfortable investing in big purchases like high-quality jewels without having the chance to see them in person.

In that case, pairing a jewelry ecommerce business with brick-and-mortar locations can help these customers get the information they need to feel comfortable about a purchase before they step into your store.

For example, some fine jewelry boutiques have used their online presence to share WhatsApp messaging links, where customers can ask questions about a product to narrow down their options before visiting a store to see it in person.

Some fine jewelry brands, such as DeBeers, now offer the opportunity for appointment-only virtual showings, which use high-definition cameras, lights, and props to show their products to customers browsing online. And others, including Brilliant Earth and Chupi, take advantage of AR-based virtual try on features, which enable customers to position jewelry on photos of models or themselves, so they can get a better sense of how they’d appear in real life. The jewelry brand Reza also has a similar feature, and says that 25% of website visitors use it when considering a purchase.

Sustainable jewelry is in the spotlight.

Many modern shoppers want to avoid wearing gemstones that were produced under abusive labor conditions or using environmentally destructive practices.

In fact, 66% of customers say they’d pay higher prices for sustainably-made products, 54% want to know if jewelry is sustainably sourced before making a purchase, and 36% would stop buying from a brand if it didn’t support sustainable practices.

In particular, lab-grown diamond sales jumped by 38% from 2021 to 2022, now representing 17% of the overall diamond market. Lab-grown diamonds are structurally identical to mined diamonds, but sell for a fraction of the price — and they don’t have the negative connotations of the traditional mined diamond trade, which is often still associated with human rights abuses in war-torn countries.

Many popular ecommerce brands also create products from recycled materials, such as recycled gold and precious metals. Others even specialize in restoring and reselling beautiful vintage jewelry pieces, to bring a second life to older pieces in a sustainable way.

Returns are on the rise.

As ecommerce jewelry sales go up, so do returns: As of 2020, the average return rate for jewelry products was just over 8%.

It’s important for ecommerce stores to offer generous return policies, or customers won’t buy from them in the first place. Shoppers return jewelry products for many different reasons — maybe a ring size was off, or the gift recipient didn’t like the item. Occasionally, a proposal might go wrong, resulting in a returned engagement ring.

Whatever the case, it’s crucial to build a returns process that offers exchanges to help customers continue a strong relationship with your brand.

Using a solution like Loop can help.

With Loop, when a shopper requests a return, they’ll be prompted to answer questions regarding why they’re returning a product. Did it not fit, arrive too late for a special event, or did the customer just not like it as much in person as they thought it would?

Based on their responses, they’ll receive curated recommendations for next steps. If a ring size was too small, ask if they want to order the next size up. If they didn’t like the product in gold, ask if they’d prefer it in sterling silver. Or, if the jewelry piece just wasn’t for them, encourage them to use Loop’s “Shop Now” functionality to browse your entire inventory of jewelry products to find something that suits their needs.

Developing thoughtful return strategies for jewelry brands can help you boost your profit margin and grow your brand sustainably. By incentivizing your shoppers to take another look at your catalog before requesting a refund, you can convert many of your refund requests into product exchanges, helping your brand retain revenue you’d otherwise lose and preserve a valuable customer relationship. 

Loop provides a seamless returns experience and integrates with your ecommerce platform and other tech solutions, making it easy to get a holistic look at your business operations so you can focus on building a next-level customer experience and scaling your jewelry brand to new heights.

Want to see how Loop can help you build a best-in-class jewelry business?