RAPAPORT… Millennials are increasingly buying diamond jewelry for themselves, helping drive retail sales in the US to record levels, according to research by De Beers.
Sales of bridal jewelry have been stable in markets where there is a tradition of giving engagement rings, but other types of jewelry offer the greatest growth opportunity among millennials, the company explained Friday in an insight report. De Beers figures showed that self-purchasing by US millennials accounted for 31% of all non-bridal sales in 2015, compared with 25% in 2013.
“American consumers continue to express strong desire for diamonds, but their purchasing habits are changing rapidly,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “While bridal diamond jewelry remains fundamental, we are seeing both single and married women buying for themselves more frequently and more purchases being made online. Meanwhile, products such as multi-diamond jewelry are becoming more popular.”
The bridal sector constitutes 28% of the US market, and gifting for married women makes up another 37%, showing that these more traditional areas are still the backbone of the industry, De Beers pointed out. However, single women’s spending on diamond jewelry jumped 20% in the US between 2013 and 2015, and with American marriage rates at historic lows, that sales demographic is expected to gain importance, the company added.
Overall US diamond-jewelry demand increased 4.4% to $41 billion in 2016 — the first time that figure exceeded $40 billion — driven by a stable economic environment, job creation, wage growth and improved consumer confidence, the report said. Global demand crept up 0.3% to $80 billion.
The positive data mirrors a report from last week by consultancy firm Bain & Company, which predicted the global luxury market for personal luxury goods would increase 2% to 4% this year to between $287 billion (EUR 254 billion) and $292 billion (EUR 259 billion). However, it added, much of this growth will come from economic recoveries in China and Europe, with the US luxury market hampered by a strong dollar, political uncertainty and weak department-store performance.
Correction, June 8, 2017: De Beers released its new research in a “Diamond Insight” publication on Friday, and not in its annual “Insight Report,” as previously stated.