Tiffany & Co. has long been the purveyor of luxury jewelry, patronized by the rich and the famous. Often synonymous with grand weddings and glamorous anniversaries, its jewelry has long served as a status symbol of sorts, coveted by big names and high profilers alike, ranging from Hollywood to the political scene to, well, people who could simply afford it. But that seems about to change.
A certain 28-year-old living in New Jersey shopping for an engagement ring for his fiancée reportedly found a couple of comparable pieces in Manhattan’s diamond district. It wasn’t enough that they were just as good as the rings Alan Feid saw at Tiffany’s flagship store at Fifth Avenue – they also cost a mere fraction of Tiffany’s rings.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think there’s much of a difference when it comes to the style or the quality,” he said. Fied joins a new age of millennials who appear to be increasingly unimpressed by brand names. According to Neil Saunders, chief executive of retail research firm Conlumino, Tiffany’s “old-world luxury” charm is losing its sparkles, as the new generation moves towards a new search for more value-for-money goods.
Tiffany is not alone in this new trend. Macy’s Inc has also reported a similar phenomenon, as their customers start moving away to off-price retailers in search for similar apparels that cost a fraction of what they can get at Macy’s. These millennials reportedly make up a growing demographic of high earners who are not quite considered rich, averaging on annual salaries of $100,000 to 250,000.
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As they lose interest in established brands like Tiffany’s and Macy’s, the new generation appears to favor brands that can offer a modern look or perhaps, a collection of niche jewelry. According to Saunders, the brand is not quite looked upon in the negative sense, but rather “as being somewhat tired and traditional”.
“Younger consumers especially see it as a place that is for the older generation and for a different era,” he said.