Walmart is setting its sights on the lab-grown diamond category.
The retail giant is going deeper into the category this holiday season, expanding its core collection that launched last year to more than 80 styles in stores across wedding, rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more.
The shift in Walmart’s jewelry strategy is driven by consumer demand, said Michelle Gill, vice president of jewelry and accessories, who stated sales of lab-grown diamond styles have grown 600 percent year-over-year.
“We’re seeing that consumers are looking for more value,” she said. “We are no strangers at Walmart to saving money for our customers, and this is a wonderful way that we can introduce a much higher-quality diamond at a much lower retail price as compared to mined [diamonds]. We’ve seen overall in the industry a decline in mined diamonds, so we’re reacting to both the trend in the industry as well as the trends that we’re seeing in our customer base.”
Walmart’s expanded lab-grown diamond collection stays true to the retailer’s mission of offering high-quality pieces at affordable prices with styles ranging from $78 to $698. With the expanded collection, lab-grown diamond styles will make up 30 percent of Walmart’s diamond fashion and bridal jewelry. Gill stated bridal styles are a key part of the retailer’s jewelry business. Walmart also offers jewelry made with cubic zirconia and Swarovski crystals.
Gill highlighted a 1.5-carat solitaire lab-grown diamond ring set in 10-karat gold, which retails at $698, as a key style. The style is the largest lab-grown diamond the retailer has ever offered. Gill stated that Walmart’s price compares to roughly $5,800 for the same style made with natural diamonds.
“It is really exciting for our customers who historically have had to give up quality, clarity and carat size in order to get a real mined diamond,” she said. “Now, they can get a real lab-grown diamond at 1 carat to 1.5-carats.”
Walmart’s aim is for the expanded lab-grown assortment to bring in new customers, Gill said, as well as introduce current customers to Walmart’s fashion offerings. With the collection available in more than 2,800 stores nationwide, the retailer is also aiming to target customers in more rural areas who may not have many jewelry retail options. Walmart will also offer more lab-grown diamond styles on its website.
“In talking about our total strategy, we’re protecting our core customer and protecting that opening price point as well as engaging a customer who is new to fashion at Walmart and is open to our elevated private brands as well as our national brands,” Gill said. “Most of these customers are already in and shopping at Walmart. It’s having them then engage with the fashion part of the business, so this is a key part of our strategy that will play into fine jewelry as well.”
Going forward, Gill stated Walmart will stay in tune with customer demands to see how best to grow its lab-grown diamond assortment, specifically seeing in which stores to increase the retailer’s fashion jewelry offerings.