Brilliant Earth used fine jewelry to find new customers

Gerard Ortiz

Online jewelry retailer Brilliant Earth brought in an influx of new customers in 2022, the company reported.

Net sales were down for the fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31 by 1.9{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}, to $119.6 million from $121.9 million. However, sales for the entire year were up 15.7{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}, to $439.9 million from $380.2 million.

Brilliant Earth ranks No. 221 in Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 ecommerce retailers in North America.

Brilliant Earth expanded its customer base through social media

The jewelry brand’s customer base grew significantly in 2022, CEO and co-founder Beth Gerstein told investors. 

Gerstein credited the growth to Brilliant Earth’s online origins and large reach on social media. Online searches for the brand reached an all-time high, and email capture grew 38{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} in 2022, she said.

The company made “huge strides” in online engagement, according to Gerstein, with a 70{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} increase in social impressions and partnerships with influencers.  These efforts led to growing total customers by “approximately 25{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}” over 2022, she said. 

Brilliant Earth expects to increase influencer partnerships in 2023 for further growth from social media.

Total orders grew 13.7{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} for the quarter and 26.6{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} for the year.

Customers are spending less

Though Brilliant Earth grew its customer base, those customers gravitated towards less expensive pieces. Average order value (AOV) was down 13.7{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} in the fourth quarter, and down 8.6{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} for the year.

Women buying jewelry for themselves was a major growth area, up 70{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} year-over-year, Gerstein said. These contributed to lower AOV because the products are typically priced lower than engagement rings and wedding bands, though they offer higher margins. Overall customer demand grew for jewelry priced below $10,000, but shrank for pieces above that price point, chief financial officer Jeff Kuo said.

Sales grew outside of wedding jewelry, especially for new customers. Cocktail rings, tennis bracelets, and necklaces all “generated strong results” in the fourth quarter, Gerstein said. Fine jewelry, which includes those pieces and does not include engagement rings, made up 16{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} of purchases in December, its highest level ever. More than one-third of new customers bought fine jewelry in the fourth quarter. 

Brilliant Earth plans to expand those offerings in 2023 and “become known as the fine jewelry destination for the next-generation consumer.”

Bridal business is booming

Non-wedding sales are growing, but engagement rings and wedding bands are still key for Brilliant Earth. 2022 was a record year for weddings, dubbed a “wedding boom,” and the bridal category remains resilient, Gerstein said. Brilliant Earth is releasing new bridal collections this spring, and the company forecasts a growth in market share.

The retailer is working on new ways to market products to brides, including growing its list of showrooms. Brilliant Earth describes it as an omnichannel model where customers make appointments online and select the styles they’re interested in, and then see them in person in a showroom. The company opened 10 showrooms in 2022 to 25 total, with plans to add at least 10 more in 2023.

Brilliant Earth earnings summary

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Brilliant Earth reported:

  • Net sales decreased to $119.6 million, dropping 1.9{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} from $121.9 million in 2021.
  • Net income was down to $6.2 million from $11.4 million in 2021.
  • Average order value decreased to $2,664, down 13.7{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} from $3,088 last year.
  • Total orders grew 13.7{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}, to 44,898 from 39,475 .

For the year ended Dec. 31, Brilliant Earth reported:

  • Net sales grew 15.7{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} year over year to $439.9 million, compared to $380.2 million in 2021.
  • Net income decreased 27.5{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63} to $19 million from $26 million previously.
  • Average order value was down 8.6{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}, to 2,940 from $3,216,
  • Total orders were up 26.6{05995459f63506108ab777298873a64e11d6b9d8e449f5580a59254103ec4a63}, to 149,613, from 118,208 in 2021.

Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding.

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