The full report for marketers, CEO, and business executives in the changing Jewelry industry in China.
The Big Question: Why do only a few jewelry brands succeed in China?
In 2022, so many brands are looking forward to benefiting from the Chinese market, but only a few succeeded.
China is a big market, the biggest market for luxury in the world. The Chinese jewelry industry and the market are exceptional for both historical reasons and traditional reasons. As a result, many western brands do not know about the Chinese market, sometimes even having a strong misunderstanding or an outdated image. A few examples:
- “Chinese consumers love gold” – Do Chinese customers really like the gold color that much?
- “They only purchase jewelry offline” – Are they more willing to buy jewelry online or offline?
- “They only like diamonds” – What jewelry material or stones do they actually prefer?
In this guide, we will lead you through those facts and trends you need to know and bring you to success in the Chinese market. If you find this guide useful, do not forget to come back from time to time because this will be updated with the change in the market, and we will bring you more things you might be interested in about the Chinese jewelry industry.
- 1 China is the Key Market for Selling Jewelry
- 2 Things you Need to Know about Chinese Jewelry Customers
- 3 The Latest Market Trends in 2022
- 4 How to Market your Jewelry Brand in China?
- 5 About us: Digital Marketing Agency for Luxury and Fashion Brands in China
- 6 Some of our jewelry case studies in China
- 7 You could be next to share your story and results…
China is the Key Market for Selling Jewelry
Most brands want a growing profitable market to export your Jewelry, China is the best options for most brands for the next decade 2022-2030.
Anais Bournonville head of the luxury division GMA
The Continuous Growth of the Market Value
According to Statista, the Chinese jewelry market value has reached 795 billion CNY in 2022 and will increase to 865 billion CNY by 2026. The Covid impact was light on the growth of the Chinese jewelry market except for a single drop in 2020. The market is continually increasing at a stable growth rate since then.
In 2022, luxury jewelry accounts for 38% of the Chinese jewelry market share, with a revenue of 13.71 billion USD and YoY growth of 2% compared to 2021. If your jewelry brand still has not benefited from this huge market, it is time to make your next step in China.
A Younger Customer Audience with Strong Potential
The majority of high jewelry and fine jewelry brands we are meeting keep wondering who would be their TA (target audience) in mainland China. According to the data from Statista in 2021, 55% of jewelry customers were aged 25-34 years old while 36% of customers were aged 35-44 years old. Chinese customers aged 25-44 years old is representing 91% of jewelry customers. They are both Millennials and Gen Z, hence the importance to use the marketing leverages and sales channels appealing to this consumer category in China.
In China, the distribution of the Chinese population is spread. On average, 22% of the Chinese population is Millennials and 16% of the Chinese population is Gen Z. The jewelry market is a concentrated market, with 91% of the sales coming from 38% of the total age consumer groups.
Importance of E-commerce in the Jewelry Industry
Due to the rapid development of digital techniques in China, e-commerce has become the majority way for most Chinese doing daily purchases from food to clothes and jewelry. In recent years, online jewelry sales take 58% of the whole Chinese jewelry market share. This rate will keep growing and is expected to reach 64% in 2026. For all western brands who want to sell jewelry in China, put enough emphasis on e-commerce.
Things you Need to Know about Chinese Jewelry Customers
Gold is not the Favorite Color for all Chinese Anymore
When it comes to the most luxurious color for Chinese people, the first image for most western people is usually the color “gold”. Truly, the color “gold” represents a state of luxury in China, because gold was the currency with the highest value. In ancient times, it was the color representing the emperor and the royal family in ancient dynasties of China.
However, in the 21st century, Chinese people do not wear everything in gold everywhere. In many situations, gold is a color representing an outdated and rustic taste. In China, there is a term for the pure gold color named “土豪金” which means “the gold of rustic rich people”. Although it is more or less said in a joking way, the Chinese term itself shows that gold is no longer suitable for every product or every Chinese people.
In Chinese, pure gold color is named “土豪金” meaning “the gold of rustic rich people”Gemologist from Luxury Division at GMA
Jewelry is an Item for Investment
From the early days in China, jewelry is usually made with gold, silver, and different kind of jade. These materials are all seen as precious materials and have their value lasting for centuries. Buying jewelry with these materials makes this jewelry not only an accessory but an asset that can be passed on to the next generation.
This traditional mindset is still working in the 21st century which makes the purchase of high-end worthy jewelry not only consumption but an investment. Chinese customers are more willing to pay more for that jewelry with precious materials or can keep its value for a long time, but it will be hard to convince Chinese customers to buy jewelry made up of cheap materials at a high price. Hence, their appetite and trust in renowned brands with long history and craftsmanship. For all the new entrants, Chinese consumers will always wonder whether the item will keep the same value or get an increased value over the next years.
The Preference for the Material is Shifting
Just like gold is no longer the most wanted color anymore, gold is also no longer the most wanted material anymore. Here I need to clarify that the gold material I refer to is the “gold” color or in the way Chinese people call it, in reference to yellow gold. Although many Chinese customers at an older age might still want gold jewelry, fewer and fewer younger customers are not willing to wear yellow gold jewelry since it seems not fashionable. It is the same situation for that jade-type jewelry including jade and nephrite, the most expensive jade-type materials.
White Gold, a Blurred Concept for Most Customers
When you are selling jewelry in China, you will be asked frequently about your white gold assortment. In general, Chinese consumers will ask you what is actually “white gold”. This is a very blur concept for Chinese customers since they do not really know much about the material. For them, it can be easily confused with silver or platinum.
Usually, “white gold” refers to 2 kinds of material:
- 18k Gold in white color
This confusion is because these 2 materials have the same color and texture and both materials are expensive. In the meantime, the Chinese name for Platinum is “铂金” which looks and sounds really similar to the Chinese name for white gold “白金”. This is another important fact to take into account when building your marketing and communication in China.
Diamond is Different from Other Stones in China
Diamond is usually seen differently from other gemstones in China. The diamond jewelry industry is seen as an individual industry while most other colored gemstones are seen as a whole category. The majority of Chinese consumers do not make any difference between ruby, emerald, jade or aquamarine, putting them under the category of “other stones”. This is the same categorization occurring on Tmall and Tmall Global.
There are multiple reasons:
- Diamond become a must-have for wedding
- Diamond has high value and its value can last long
- The successful marketing slogan of De Beers
- Unlike most colored stones, diamonds can be graded strictly with a standard
- The audience is too big compared to other gems
The Latest Market Trends in 2022
Rose Gold is Getting Popular
While the color yellow gold is decreasing in popularity and the material of white gold or silver are not solid enough in the design of jewelry, Chinese local consumers wanted a new warm color. This new appetite for rose gold concerns both women and men. Currently, rose gold has become the second most popular color after silver color in the use of jewelry. On Tmall, the best-selling items of fine jewelry brands concern rose gold rings, necklaces, and bracelets.
Colored Stones are Attracting More Chinese Customers
Diamond is usually a symbol of luxury and high taste. But when diamonds are so wildly used in China, more and more people are trying to search for something niche. Different colored stones are getting welcomed by customers, especially the younger generation. The Chinese Gen Z is driving the market trends with a strong demand for unique colors to show their own taste and personality.
Another key cultural difference to keep in mind is the birthstone theory. This concept is also popular in China, which made jewelry with a certain birthstone a good option for a birthday present.
The Men’s Appetite for Diamonds in China
The use of diamonds in jewelry making is usually seen in women’s jewelry, but it is not the case anymore in China. More and more consumers from the younger generation are looking for new creative designs, to show their delicacy and high taste. Also affected by different cultures such as hip-hop culture, many Chinese male customers are purchasing diamond jewelry with fashion designs.
Custom-made Jewelry for Being Unique
Chinese customers are tired of that jewelry with the same design. In 2022, Chinese people are more willing to accept a higher price for custom-made jewelry. From simple customization like curving your name on it to deep customization such as the unique design on the customers’ demand, custom-made jewelry is adding more value to jewelry and a new way to being unique.
Slow Attitude towards Synthetic Stones
Synthetic stones like synthetic diamonds are entering the jewelry market with the maturity of synthetic technology. However, it might be tricky if you want to enter the Chinese market with your synthetic diamond product. This is because the synthetic gemstone is very likely to be seen as fake gemstone in China. For Chinese consumers, synthetic stones do not have the same value as natural ones and the value is decreasing during the rising manufacturing volume.
New Taste for Ethical Jewelry
The concept of ethical jewelry has existed for years. With the release of the movie “Blood Diamond”, known in mainland China. It was brought to a higher level of exposure with an increasing calling for ethical jewelry. Nowadays, brands are trying to use recycled gold/silver in jewelry to meet their sustainable concept. The majority of brands selling diamond products are also making effort to make sure that the diamond they offer is ethical.
However, doing branding for ethical in China would be different because the ethical factor is not a key reason for them to buy, but a reason for them not to buy when there is an ethical problem. To make sure you attract the right Chinese audience with your ethical jewelry, brands should take full advantage of social media tools like WeChat or Xiaohongshu. Creating the topic on those media, drawing the attention of more audience, and making an impact on their emotion would be a good way to succeed.
How to Market your Jewelry Brand in China?
Use Social Media for Your Branding and Target Audience
Social media marketing is the key marketing tool for every brand in China. Thanks to the wide use of social media, brands now can easily do branding and marketing on these digital platforms. This can not only allow brands to do marketing and branding more easily and flexibly but also saves you a lot of investment on traditional advertising with long-term benefits. You can set up an official account on Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) or WeChat. The majority of jewelry consumers are easier to target on this platform with several features such as articles, market education content, product releases, and private groups. You will need to have a team of Chinese copywriters and designers to avoid any bad buzz in terms of words, symbols, and colors.
Xiaohongshu or Red is changing the consumption in China for luxury products. The Instagram of China provide consumers insights, influencers lifestyle tips and bring to female consumers “inspiration” about their next purchase. All luxury brands should invest in Red , it is a necessity now.
Olivier VEROT founder of GMA
Baidu will be your Best Friend to Build a Strong Brand Reputation
Are you still doing search engine marketing with Google only? You need to try something new in China!
Since Google is blocked in China, your efforts on Google are not reaching your Chinese customers. Baidu, the top search engine in China can help you boost your visibility on the internet and also boost your e-reputation. Setting your official website on Baidu can help your customer find you easily on the internet. You will need a Chinese SEO team to make the right modification to your website and boost your exposure to the Chinese digital ecosystem.
Find your Customers through a Tmall E-commerce Flagship Store
How can your customers make sure they are buying the real product from your brand without wasting money on fake products? Since anyone can create their own store on Tmall and Taobao, making sure your official store is clearly seen by the customers become extremely important.
Creating your official flagship store on Tmall can not only help your increase visibility but also cut the doubt of the customer while making purchasing decisions. Even if you do not know Tmall well, you can still manage it with a Tmall Partner who can walk you through the whole process.
Tmall is now the best way for Chinese consumers to do “shopping”. You can find on this platform everything you need, testimonials, livestreamers, consumer information and trends. Tmall is today the “friend” of luxury brands in China.
Philip Qian : Founder of Gentlemen Marketing Agency, Expert in e-Commerce in China
Live Streaming, the New Way to Boost your Jewelry Sales
What is your first image for live-streaming? Game? Singers? In China, live-streaming is for everyone and everything, including jewelry. With the success of a new sales tool called live-streaming sales which combines live-streaming and e-commerce, customers are able to buy anything from live-streaming sales channels. This trend is also changing the jewelry industry, more and more jewelry brands are starting to sell their product via live-streaming, especially in the sales of low-middle jewelry. Even Chinese distributors are now requesting brands to have a store and live streaming on Douyin.
About us: Digital Marketing Agency for Luxury and Fashion Brands in China
Who are we?
With 10 years of experience in marketing and branding in China, GMA is the real expert in the Chinese market. Trusted by hundreds of brands, we carried out many successful cases and help those brands succeed in China. We do not only know the business game, but also the Chinese customer and their behavior. You will not be alone in the fierce competition in the Chinese market, GMA will always be by your side with all support you need.
How can we help you Grow your Jewelry Brand in China?
GMA will listen to your demand and situation, your ambitions and blueprint. We will discuss your business and see what might be risky and what can be your advantage in China. More than providing you with a single recommendation, we will walk you through your project from marketing research, strategy making, and the launch on social media and e-commerce platforms, and help you with all problems you might meet in China.
Professionals of Branding and E-commerce, ROI Focused
Digital marketing tools are our best weapon in marketing and branding in China. Focusing on the result we want to reach, we will boost your business with the use of any social media and e-commerce tools depending on your unique demand. The Chinese market is everchanging, and the only way to success is to keep updating our mindset and strategy with the changing environment. No matter what is troubling you, we will help you get the result you want. And there is nothing best that the perfect combination of a digital marketing agency awarded as TP (Tmall Partner).
Here I proudly introduce you to our Luxury division, directed by an experienced former LVMH talent, the GMA luxury division is rooted in the Luxury industry deeply reaching all sectors from fashion, and leather goods to jewelry. We also have a gemology expert in the jewelry field accredited by HRD Antwerp and AIGS (Asia Institute of Gemological Science) with deep knowledge of the Chinese jewelry market who will be engaged in your project and give his support as well.
No matter what’s your demand, you are always welcome to come and have a cup of coffee. Don’t hesitate and book a meeting with our friendly consultants for a nice chat!
Some of our jewelry case studies in China
High Jewelry – Jaubalet
As a French niche jewelry designer brand located on the iconic Place Vendome in Paris, Jaubalet found it hard to gain visibility in China and reach out to wealthy customers. They provide high jewelry with custom-made designs and selected high-quality gemstones manufactured with traditional techniques. With the help of GMA, they got a deeper understanding of their customer audience in China and how to attract those Chinese wealthy customers traveling abroad. At the same time, we help them with a website audit and optimization greatly increased their visibility in China, and boosted their e-reputation.
- Top ranking position on Baidu
- +500% organic online traffic
- +250% offline traffic
Fine Jewelry – Garrard
Founded in 1735 by master silversmith George Wicks, Garrard is a London-oriented modern jewelry brand played an important role in British jewelry history since 1834 when he was appointed as the first official Crown Jeweller. They have created a lot of masterpieces from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara to Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring. Garrard contacted GMA for their branding in China when they met problems with the user experience of their international website and low visibility in China. We carried out optimization on their website for Chinese customers and also built up an SEO strategy for them on Baidu, the top search engine in China which helped them to gain attention from the Chinese audience and have a better user experience of their website.
- Complete SEO strategy for Baidu
- Consulting on user experience
- Consulting on Baidu optimization
Jewelry – Les Georgettes
Les Georgettes is a creative jewelry brand combining the use of metal and leather bands and offers their customer infinite opportunities on collecting their own personalized jewelry. To attract more customers in China, they reached GMA for support. In this case, we helped Les Georgettes with the building up of their social media e-reputation system on different platforms such as WeChat and Weibo. The result is very obvious and soon help them to gain more visibility and attract more Chinese customers.
- +12K monthly views an 1.2K monthly followers on WeChat
- +172K monthly views and 1.5K monthly reactions on Weibo
- Boost in e-reputation with top 4 magazines press releases
Are you looking forward to boosting your business and taking advantage of the Chinese market? Did you find your branding in China is not ideal? Do you want someone to help you through the marketing and branding on social media and e-commerce?
You have met the right partner. The services of GMA have covered 360° of your possible demand in the Chinese market. Take action immediately and be the next one to share your story
I’m in Uganda. I have 20-30 kgs of pangolin scales, and 40-50 kgs of Rubis red stones.
I need a serious buyer to cantact me for serious business.
I love everything I’m reading about GMA! It is everything on my checklist of capabilities for a Marketing Company that LEBO M JEWELLERY is in need of. Please kindly contact us back, so we can begin with the consultation as we are pressed with time and need to finalize our marketing partner in CHINA🙂