‘Tis definitely the season to be jolly as the consumer market is starting to show improvements and the holiday shopping season gets underway. A record 200.4 million consumers showed up to shop (both online and in-store) over the five-day holiday weekend from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday. Not only did this number surpass the NRF’s initial expectation by 18 million, but it also surpassed last year’s record of 196.7 million. 

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There is good news for the diamond industry too. According to Rapaport’s November 30th Market Comments, the overall diamond market is improving as the holiday shopping season begins. Diamond prices are increasing - round diamond prices in some categories have increased by 2% to 3% since mid-October with 0.30 carat, SI1 diamonds seeing a more significant increase of 5%. There is steady demand in the US for 1 to 2 ct. commercial stones and this is boosting the diamond trade in India which is reopening after Diwali  - another factor likely to contribute to increased trade activity.

As always love is in the air this time of year and women are hoping to feel some of it in the form of diamond jewelry. Sally Morrison, Director of PR for Natural Diamonds at De Beers Group, reported that in one of their recent OnePulse surveys, well over 80% of women said they would be “very excited” to receive a gift of natural diamond jewelry this holiday season.

There is demand, there is supply, and there is time for you to make this a profitable December. Read on for useful tips to help you prepare for this year's holiday season.

Focus on the Real Thing
Authentic is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year, and nowhere is this more apropos than in the diamond industry. The natural diamond market is fighting back against the onslaught of synthetic stones that have been flooding the market. De Beers launched a $20 million campaign bringing back the iconic “Diamonds are Forever” tagline, to support consumer demand for natural diamonds this holiday season. This is a critical move because while some jewelers are pushing lab-grown stones to make huge profit margins, this will ultimately be to their detriment - Martin Rapaport, CEO of the Rapaport Group, warns that synthetic prices are crashing and will soon be so cheap that the net revenue, even at higher profit margins, will be insufficient for a jeweler’s survival.

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There will undoubtedly still be demand for lab-grown diamonds this holiday season, especially for those with lots of love in their hearts but a less generous budget. Don’t miss out on these sales opportunities by ensuring you have sufficient stock of synthetic stones for those actively seeking them. It is, however, worth stocking up on and recommending natural diamonds to customers looking for meaningful purchases that have value for loved ones.

Get Your Pricing Right
While holiday season shopping has begun in earnest, consumers are managing tight budgets and looking out for great deals. According to research conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 62% of respondents said sales and promotions were more important this year than last when shopping for gifts. This means offering consumers real value for money is going to be a key differentiator this festive season. 

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With real diamonds as your focus, it is important to ensure you are sourcing and pricing them well. With a selection of over 1.7 million diamonds from various suppliers worldwide, RapNets' diamond marketplace makes it easy for you to find whatever diamond your customer is looking for, while their suite of diamond pricing tools helps you to do your research and position your prices competitively. In this way you will be providing your customers with a wide range of options and securing the best prices through competition among sellers, ultimately benefiting the end consumer.

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Boost Your Online Presence
As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, your website can’t just be a collateral marketing tool anymore. With 20.8% of all retail purchases expected to take place online in 2023, adding online shopping features, inventory searches, and easy access to customer service is a necessity for any retailer. This is particularly true for jewelers -  about 45% of Gen Z and 60% of millennial consumers in the United States said they would prefer to do most of their jewelry and accessory shopping online if they could. 

Growing your online presence is critical for jewelers who want to future-proof their businesses, as online sales are likely to become more popular. RapNet’s Marketing department has given retailers some practical advice on how to utilize online marketing to increase traffic and sales. The first crucial step in boosting your online presence is ensuring that your website is updated, fresh, and creates a user-friendly and seamless shopping experience for customers. 

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Keeping your site looking professional is crucial for attracting the younger demographic who are your online target audience. Make use of professional photographers to make your brand stand out in a sea of competition. A professional photographer will be able to “...capture the allure of your jewelry products and showcase them in the best light online. These high-quality photos serve not only for the website but also for other marketing materials, including advertisements, social media graphics, and physical store signage,” RapNet marketing states. 

Social media in general plays a pivotal role in gaining both online and in-store customers. The RapNet marketing team suggest that retailers “develop a strategic approach to content creation for platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.“ It's money well spent, they argue, because “... even if budget constraints exist, maintaining a presence on major social networks is essential for visibility.”

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Arguably the most important part of ramping up your online presence is to offer a wide range of inventory. Historically this has been the most difficult part of providing an online shopping experience - keeping large amounts of expensive stock is not a feasible business model for retail jewelers. There is, however, an easy solution to this dilemma.  RapNet Instant Inventory allows you to showcase thousands of diamonds and jewelry on your website as if they were your own inventory - without the cost of owning them. This gives your customers a world of diamonds through your brand and helps ensure you maintain a competitive online presence. 

Stay On Trend
Making sure you have what your customers want is a critical part of making the most of this holiday season. Research by De Beers indicates that the single most desired diamond gift by women is natural diamond ear studs, followed by natural diamond rings, and then diamond necklaces, such as a diamond solitaire pendant or tennis bracelet.

With so much love in the air, let’s not forget that the holiday season is the most popular time of year to get engaged.  Sally Morrison points to two new trends in engagement rings - the choice of unusual natural diamond shapes like pears, hearts, and marquises in classic solitaire settings, and a movement away from white gold and platinum settings to yellow and rose gold.

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Use Rapnet’s marketplace to source specific looks for clients who know what they want, and for those who are unsure, boost your in-store inventory with Rapnet’s Instant Inventory.

Shine Bright: Make the Most of the Holiday Season
This year has been a mixed bag of news when it came to the diamond industry - macroeconomic constraints, sanctions, synthetic diamonds, and unstable markets have left retailers unsure of where to turn. While many of these issues will follow us into 2024, it is clear that this year’s festive season should bring good news for diamond retailers, with consumers eager to shop, albeit carefully. Use the RapNet marketplace and its suite of tools to help you find and price diamond jewelry competitively, giving every customer what they want and growing profits this December.