Charles Stanley, president of Forevermark at De Beers, gave an illuminating presentation at last month’s AGS Conclave event in Oklahoma City, sharing updated statistics from the company about the evolving diamond jewelry shopper.
Here are 10 fascinating facts he discussed during his talk, many of which were gleaned from De Beers’ latest De Beers Diamond Insight Report:
Millennials are now the most important diamond jewelry consumers
In 2021, Millennials made 36% of the diamond jewelry purchases in the U.S., putting them ahead of Baby Boomers (who made up 33% of the total) for the first time. The much-smaller Gen-X generation bought 26% of the diamond jewelry.
Sustainability is as important as price and design for consumers
Fifty-six percent of the 8,400 consumers polled by De Beers for its report said they are willing to pay more (10% to 20%) for diamond brands that have sustainability credentials. Around a third of consumers globally value sustainability “the most” when shopping for a diamond.
Millennials care the most about sustainability
Thirty percent of Millennials said they bought jewelry with “sustainability credentials as part of its branding,” while only 8% of Baby Boomers said the same. The top five sustainability considerations for diamond consumers were (in order) protection of the environment, fair worker treatment, conflict-free sourcing, supporting local communities, and diamond origin.
Jewelry buyers in every category are spending more
Jewelry shoppers’ average spend has increased significantly in the last two years. Single women’s average jewelry spend grew from $2,016 to $3,500 between 2019 and 2021. While bridal consumers’ average spend went from $3,852 to $5,100.
The diamond jewelry “collector” contributed to the most growth
In 2021, the so-called “heavy owner”—De Beers-speak for someone who owns eight or more pieces of diamond jewelry—contributed the most to the growth of the diamond market. This buyer picked up an average of 2.3 new diamond pieces last year.
Self-purchasers accounted for over 1/3 of diamond jewelry growth
American women are increasingly “rewarding” themselves by buying diamond jewelry.
Soaring jewelry sales will slow, even if only slightly
De Beers predicts that demand for diamond jewelry in the U.S. will continue to be strong, but that we’ll see a slowdown in diamond jewelry sales in the fourth quarter of 2022. Stanley cited ongoing inflation as a key factor for why consumers will reign in their spending.
There’s a growing demand for branded diamond jewelry
Branded diamond jewelry is spiking in popularity, and is especially important to younger consumers, Stanley noted.
Millennials and Gen-Z are drawn to value-driven brands
The personality and world outlook of brands is of increasing interest to young diamond jewelry buyers. 34-40% of those polled in the De Beers report said they would prioritize diamond brands focused on preserving wildlife around diamond mines, sourcing from conflict-free zones, providing support to local communities, and empowering women in mining communities.
Purpose-driven diamond brands will have an edge in the future
Eighty-eight percent of those polled in the report said they more likely to buy a product that is demonstrably purpose-driven.
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