Monday, June 14, 2010

Culture and Consumer Choices

The article "Cultural research tour reveals who likes what" in the Financial Times discusses the disparities in consumer behavior when it comes to jewelery here.  For the astute, this also provides insights in luxury and aspirational consumer goods and services as well.  In emerging markets of China and South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), jewelery provides the deepest insights as it represents social standing as well as continuation to brand loyalty as it can be a significant both monetarily and as an emotive purchase.

"In the US today, the average price of a piece of diamond jewellery is $199, while in China it is $1,000 - David Rudlin, Japan-based global marketing director for De Beers’ Forevermark"

The article did not highlight though whether the jewelery industry is a follower or a predecessor to overall consumer markets trend?  Or does it stay constant?  That would be valuable information.

Few more interesting trends, for example, the difference in American and Japanese consumers overall are highlighted simply:

"In the US, 80 per cent of diamonds sold are for the bridal market. The American market is more ready than the Japanese to sacrifice quality for size... “The Japanese reject anything with even invisible flaws,” says Mr Rudlin."

"The biggest jewellery chain in the world, Chow Tai Fook, has 1,000 stores in China and will have 2000 by 2020. In China, 70 per cent of the market is made up of solitaire wedding rings, which are relatively easy to design and manufacture."

"“India, with its jewellery culture inspired by maharajas, is unlike anywhere else in the world,” says Mr Rudlin. “The demand is skewed to elaborate multi-stone pieces, with a focus on necklaces, earrings, bracelets and bindis and hair jewels.”"

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