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When kids' jewellery grows up

As the children’s jewellery market continues to expand its horizons, the time is right for retailers to get ahead of the demand. TALIA PAZ reports.

Trendy, cute and fashionable – welcome to the jewellery market for today’s children. The kids’ jewellery category has come a long way from those tentative first steps, where ID bracelets, brooches and stud earrings were all that was available for young accessory lovers and usually gifted to celebrate a child’s birthday, christening or other important milestone.

Such occasion items still make up a hefty portion of the category but the sector is growing up.

Today, trendy, fashion-forward pieces are far more prevalent than they were five years ago, let alone a decade back.

Couture Kingdom
Couture Kingdom

As children increasingly gravitate towards fun styles across a multitude of items such as charm bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants, it’s clear that the market for kids’ jewellery is cementing a sturdy position within the industry.

Driving the demand behind children’s’ jewellery is a shift in purchasing preferences. Parents are still buying jewellery for their children but the rise of online shopping has increased the exposure of computer-savvy kids to jewellery and they’re now honing their preferences and selecting their own items.

This opportunity for children to shop for fun has helped the sector expand beyond occasion-based gift giving, making it easy to see why the children’s jewellery segment has evolved in recent years.

Couture Kingdom
Couture Kingdom

Adults still have the final say in purchasing decisions but with kids as young as five exposed to, and sometimes actively involved in social-media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, today’s youth have a heightened awareness to brands and are acutely aware – or, dare we say, even ahead - of the game when it comes to knowing the latest go-to accessory.

With this in mind, here are the latest emerging trends, each presenting a chance for retailers to jump on board and pursue the ample sales opportunities on offer.

Young and on-trend

Michael Tran is the director of Couture Kingdom, a supplier that sells Disney-licensed jewellery including stud earrings, necklaces, bracelets and bangles for children between the ages of three and eight.

Amaya Jewellery
Amaya Jewellery

Couture Kingdom’s range of bangles has been a staple for the brand in recent years; however, Tran notes that stud earrings in different metals and colours have emerged as a popular front runner this season.

“Kids jewellery is no longer just about the classic and dainty styles,” he says. “In this current fashion climate, kids’ offerings need to be very much on trend, whether it be the metal colour, particular theme or character of the season. Children are very much in touch with current trends so our product needs to be relevant.”

Victorian-based manufacturer Paterson Fine Jewellery supplies signet rings, brooches, bangles, bracelets, pendants and earrings under the My Angel collection. Managing director David Paterson has also seen an increase in demand for pieces that come in different-coloured metal finishes.

Guild Jewellery
Guild Jewellery

“Currently, our best sellers are rose gold-plated bracelets,” Paterson states. “The latest kids’ jewellery trends are featuring more colour and brighter enamel finishes. This makes sense that kids are attracted to colour and there are better and cheaper enamelling processes, which has led to a rise in these items.”

Licensed brand names is an expanding market in the children’s jewellery category. Andrew Ioannou is the director of Guild Jewellery Design, a supplier that has the rights to produce jewellery inspired by the DC comic universe.

Ioannou believes the category is also seeing a boost in the sale of items that appeal to kids, tweens and young adults alike, essentially doubling sales opportunities for retailers.

Pia & Per
Pia & Per

“People grew up with DC Comics and now we’re doing Harry Potter, currently one of the largest brands in the world,” Ioannou says. “I don’t see these products as ‘children only’; I see them as cross-generational because we’ve all grown up with it. Because of this, you get a lot of doubling up on purchases.”

It’s no secret that children’s jewellery closely follows trends in adult’s jewellery, albeit in a more playful manner. Because of this, the penchant for little ones to match their older friends, family and heroes continues to be prevalent.

“You see a lot of other lines like Couture Kingdom with really good designs that are essentially marketed to children but you [also] see adults buying them,” Ioannou adds. “Many adults buy matching sets with their children.”

Children marketing and social media

Zachary Anesbury is a senior marketing scientist at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, part of the University of South Australia Business School. While it’s widely accepted that social media is now an integral component of any product-marketing campaign, Anesbury lays out are a few points retailers should keep in mind when selling to children.

“Social media affects kids in the same way as all other media. While it used to be thought that media was a strong force that could persuade consumers that one brand is better than the others, we now know that media’s primary ability is to create and reinforce memory structures,” Anesbury says. “For kids and tweens, brands would be using social media to create the connection between their brand and the category.”

And who has the final sway over purchasing decisions?

“Younger people do tend to have an influence on the purchases made in their household. Brands looking to market products to younger consumers would, therefore, need to think broadly and also advertise to their parents, who are often making the final purchasing decisions. The most effective method would be to select media that allows them to reach as many potential category buyers as possible,” he concludes.

The nostalgia for traditional
Couture Kingdom
Couture Kingdom

Does occasion jewellery still dominate the kid’s jewellery category? The general consensus among the suppliers and retailers included here is a resounding ‘yes’. Adults who want to celebrate their children’s important milestones or even replicate items they once owned themselves are still driving sales in this category.

Philip Scott, the owner of My Jewellers in Burnie, Tasmania attests to the enduring popularity of occasion jewellery, stating these items continue to sell well in his store.

“Signet rings, baby bangles and bracelets are what we sell for birthdays and Christmas [and these kinds of] occasions,” Scott says.

It’s not just bracelets that are gifted to celebrate milestones; stud earrings have once again gained popularity amongst consumers, according to Vibeke Henriksen, the local distributor of Pia & Per. The supplier, which originates from Norway, specialises in sterling silver enamel jewellery.

Paterson Fine Jewellery
Paterson Fine Jewellery

“Small stud earrings are something kids can wear all the time, even to kindergarten or school,” Henriksen says, “but of course for the main events also – christenings, birthdays and Christmas.”

Paterson agrees with these sentiments, adding kids’ occasion jewellery is just as relevant as it was when the category first gained traction. “People are always looking for a thoughtful gift for a newborn or to celebrate a child’s birthday or religious ceremony; a piece that marks the occasion and is a keepsake item,” he explains.

Another way retailers can capitalise on these pieces is by ensuring the distinction between occasions and ‘any-time’ jewellery is apparent – double the opportunities, in other words.

“Jewellery has become such an inspiring way to show individual style and with affordable price points; however, jewellery will always be a special gift, not just a special occasion purchase,” Tran adds. “Separating special occasions from everyday pieces [can benefit retailers].”

Looking ahead
Couture Kingdom
Couture Kingdom

Over the next few years, the expectation is that children’s jewellery will steadily increase in popularity. What other changes are also expected to affect this category?

“Depending on prices, I see a lot more interest in gold making a comeback into kids’ jewellery,” Paterson says. “We are constantly asked for white and rose gold options and, if the demand continues to grow, it will be something we can easily add to the range.”

Local manufacturer Amaya has supplied baby brooches, ID bracelets and earrings with blue bird motifs for approximately 10 years. Director Richard Munoz offers a different perspective.

“The traditional pieces such as signet rings, ID bracelets, bangles and brooches continue to be well represented. It is the excellent partnership between sterling silver and enamel however, that I believe will head the charge in the immediate future,” Munoz says.

Pia & Per
Pia & Per

“Baby and children’s jewellery is tradition in various cultures and with tradition, there comes a demand for products that accent the celebration of that tradition and moment in time. There will always be a demand for children’s jewellery with an increasing emphasis on branded articles, charms and enamelled products.”

Tran offers additional comments on the matter: “Children in our current society have such easy access to current trends and social-media influencers that they clearly create their own style from a young age. They have a huge influence over the purchases their parents and guardians make and this market really needs to be creative in the future in order to speak directly to this young target demographic.”

All in all, there are many benefits for retailers who offer children’s jewellery. With some clever stocking and promotional techniques, retailers should soon find themselves unlocking sales in this enduring category.

Paterson Fine Jewellery
Paterson Fine Jewellery

Talia Paz • Staff Journalist

Talia Paz is a staff journalist for Jeweller, and has more than three years' experience as a freelance journalist for national and international publications, covering a wide range of industries.

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Wednesday, 11 December, 2019 12:35am
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