The Right Hand Ring – A New Declaration

In the 2003, the Diamond Trading Company, a London-based marketing subsidiary of De Beers, launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign titled, “Raise Your Right Hand”, and it had a simple, but powerful message: women don’t have to wait for men to buy them jewelry, they can buy it themselves.

The ads ran in glossy fashion magazines, and featured models photographed in beautiful evening gowns and gemstones. The copy in the adverts made bold statements such as, “Your left hand celebrates the day you were married. Your right hand celebrates the day you were born” and, “Your left hand says ‘I love you.’ Your right hand says, ‘I love me, too.’”

The emerging female market

In years gone by, the target market of jewelry ads was men as they were typically the bread-winners of the household. Although men still earn on average more than their female counterparts, over the years a large number of women have joined the labour market and the salary gap is closing gradually. According to “The Female Economy”, an article published in the Harvard Business Review, females control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spend and represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined.

It’s not just about being single

Although a significant portion of women who buy themselves jewelry aren’t married, the majority either are or have been married before. It’s no longer uncommon for women wear wedding rings on their left hands, and the diamond rings that they bought themselves on their right hands. As suggested by the copy in the “Raise Your Right Hand” campaign, it’s about celebrating personal identity and style.

Marketers are always looking for new niche markets that they can introduce products or services to. Considering the increasing financial independence of women, it’s no wonder that the new target consumers for jewelry campaigns are affluent (typically middle-aged) women that are proud of their achievements and love wearing jewelry to express their individual style. This market is growing, which means that there’s been mental shift from thinking of jewelry as being a gift.

Why this emerging market a good thing?

Jewelry is a seasonal product. Sales peak around the Christmas season, and are mainly driven by men who are buying jewelry for the women they love. However, women who buy themselves jewelry do it year round. In 2010, 59% of their jewelry purchases were for ‘no particular occasion.’ Marketing research firm, Mintel, calls this market the Just Becausers—the name implies that professional women aren’t waiting for a special occasion to buy the piece of jewelry that they have been eyeing.

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