In the diamond market, youth rules. According to De Beers’ just-released 2018 Diamond Insight Report, Millennial and Generation Z consumers together accounted for two-thirds of global diamond jewelry sales in 2017, as demand reached a new record high of $82 billion.
The larger of the two groups, the report notes, are the Millennials, who today are people aged 21 to 39. In terms of the world population they represent 29 percent of the total, but in 2017 they accounted for almost 60 percent of diamond jewelry demand in the United States and about 80 percent in China.
By De Beers’ estimates Generation Z, which includes individuals aged up to 20, will be an even larger consumer generation, representing 35 percent of the world’s population. Despite their being a long way from financial maturity, they are already making their presence felt in the diamond market, with those in the 18 to 20 -year-old group acquiring 5 percent of all diamond jewelry pieces in the United States last year.
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MILLENNIALS AND GENERATION Z
The report highlights key similarities and differences between Millennials and Generation Z as a result of their life experiences. These will have particular implications for diamond brands and retailers.
Millennials, for example, are in general more mistrusting, requiring brands to earn their trust before they can pursue growth. Generation Z tend to be more individualistic and optimistic, desiring products that help build their own personal brands.
But there are also a number of important similarities between the generations, especially with regards to valuing love, being digital natives, being engaged with social issues and desiring authenticity and self-expression.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED BY MARKETERS
Both Millennials and Generation Z hold strong aspirations to be in committed relationships, and, while their attitudes towards how they express and symbolize their love are evolving, they generally still want to follow tradition. The bridal market, therefore, continues to be of central importance, representing around 27 percent of diamond jewelry demand in the main consuming countries. Diamonds given simply as a gift of love or romance, unrelated to marriage, represented a further 12 percent of total demand in 2017.
As digital communication natives, online shopping and social media are as significant to these generations as physical retail outlets, particularly when it comes to researching purchases.
Some 60 percent of U.S. Millennial and Generation Z members aged 18 to 39 currently search the internet prior to purchasing a diamond to learn about designs, quality, pricing and brands, with the younger Millennials and Gen Z being more likely than older Millennials to look on social media for inspiration prior to purchase. In China as much as 98 percent of Generation Z and Millennial consumers aged 19 to 29 research their purchase through one or more channels before buying.
Both Millennials and Generation Z both display strong concern for social causes and responsibly sourced products. This highlights the opportunity for diamond brands and retailers to be more proactive in communicating the good that diamonds do throughout the world, and the contribution their individual brands make to important social causes.