November 16, 2011 at 13:28 PM EST
Shopping for the Holiday Sparkle
Image from: Graça Victoria / Shutterstock There are so many reasons to be cheerful around the holiday season. Among them are the excitement of getting that new video game, the thrill of receiving that “it” bag, and possibly the pleasure of smelling that distinctive new car smell. But what can be more exciting and nerve [...]

Image from: Graça Victoria / Shutterstock


There are so many reasons to be cheerful around the holiday season. Among them are the excitement of getting that new video game, the thrill of receiving that “it” bag, and possibly the pleasure of smelling that distinctive new car smell. But what can be more exciting and nerve wrecking than having that special someone light up as you propose your eternal love? Maybe getting a cute little puppy—but I digress.

Before the arrival of that special moment, there’s so much to do (e.g. possibly getting the parents’ approval and planning how to propose). At the top of the list of course is finding that perfect ring. So where do these fiancés-to-be go to find that special ring?

Having been on the receiving end, I decided to put myself in the shoes of those guys who are about to pour out their hearts to the love of their life and become about $5,200 poorer, according to the 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study from The Knot Market Intelligence, a research division of XO Group Inc. After performing a keyword search for “engagement ring” on Compete Pro, I can’t say I was surprised that the top four sites were jewelry retailers, with tiffany.com leading the pack.

Traffic to these sites was the highest during the holiday season. Since the survey stated 3 months as the average amount of time spent shopping for the engagement ring, I focused in on October to see how these sites did in capturing the interest of future grooms.

According to Compete’s data, over one quarter of tiffany.com visitors browsed through the engagement ring pages. This number of visitors was 7 percentage points higher than the aggregate figure. Zales.com was not far behind with 22% of their visitors browsing for engagement rings.

Among the four sites, zales.com actually attracted the highest number of engagement ring shoppers, capturing over 50% of these people with tiffany.com slipping to second place. Upon close inspection of the sites, I noticed that shoppers are unable to order engagement rings online at tiffany.com unlike at the other three sites. Tiffany.com is mainly a place for shoppers to research and browse for styles before heading to a store. A possible reason for not selling engagement rings online: the opportunity to pounce on the chance to up sell to in-store visitors. And if I were a customer planning to fork over a boat load of money on a shiny rock, I would definitely want personal, attentive service and an up-close inspection of what I’m getting.

I was also curious to see how much these future grooms are shopping around. It turns out that zales.com is also leading here. Only about one out of five zales.com engagement ring shoppers visited competitive sites. However, kay.com is not doing a very good job at capturing the interest of their visitors, with more than 50% of their shoppers visiting other sites.

I visited kay.com to find out why. First off, the selection was very limited. There were only three types of metals offered vs. at least five at zales.com and bluenile.com. Also, I found the design feature harder to use compared to zales.com. It is no wonder that 33% of Kay shoppers visited zales.com.

So for all those who are planning to propose this coming holiday season, check out the different sites and take advantage of the early holiday sales. As for those who are eyeing that Tiffany & Co ring, you better continue making those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and save up for that special sparkle.

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