As an industry, we can’t seem to get enough information about Gen-Z, the generation born between the late 1990s and early 2010s that’s just now coming into its initial jewelry and watch buying years.
Which is why the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) is making analysis of the Gen-Z consumer the primary focus of its Women’s Executive Leadership Forum, which it will host Oct. 27 at Bohemian National Hall in NYC.
The event, now in its fourth year, focuses on thought leadership for the industry, and always addresses big challenges. Many WJA programs, including the ongoing March is Me Month campaign (designed to entice and celebrate self-purchasing women jewelry consumers) have come out of the Executive Leadership Forum event.
This year, Citizen Watch America will present its latest research study, “What Makes Gen Z Tick,” in a keynote address that dissects Gen-Z’s relationship with jewelry and watches, specifically. The study, which cost well into the six figures, was created to benefit professionals in merchandising, marketing, consumer research, sales, and sustainability.
Citizen Watch America is a sponsor of the event—alongside De Beers, JCK, Macy’s, Stuller, and the Signet family of brands—and Susan Chandler, chief merchandising officer for Citizen Watch and WJA president, came up with the idea for the Gen-Z study. WJA executive director Jen Markas recalls, “She said, we need to think outside the box and be able to provide members with this information.”
Creative agency Now What undertook the report, which Citizen sponsored. “This study is solely focused on the behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes of Gen-Z,” she adds. “The information is really actionable…There’s never been a study that specifically looks at Gen-Zs relationship to jewelry and watches.”
And unlike Gen-Z studies from Business of Fashion, WWD, and other high-profile companies, which generally cost $2,500-plus, the WJA/Citizen Watch study is $450, which includes the ticket price for the Women’s Executive Leadership Forum event. “We have people in our community who would never be able to afford this unless we did it,” says Markas. “This partnership with Citizen—we’re hoping is to model this every year and deliver research to share with the WJA community every year.”
Gen-Z expert and Rutgers University professor Mark Beal will be one of the panelists at the event, and WJA is giving away his latest book, Gen-Z graduates to Adulthood, to attendees.
WJA always highlights the importance of mentoring in its programming, and Markas hopes executives attending next week will bring a colleague considered a rising leader in their organization.
“With some of these big events, you go to them and then any action after the event kind of falls flat—because the people who actually do the work aren’t at these kinds of events,” Markas notes. “Take any normal C-suite person and they’re all about the big ideas, but they normally need a team to execute them.”
Tickets to WJA’s Women Executive Leadership Forum are available now on WJA’s website.