Focus on

the diamond market

COVID19 PLACES THE WEDDING INDUSTRY ON HOLD, BUT THE SLOWDOWN WILL LIKELY BE TEMPORARY

 

The anchor of the diamond market had traditionally been matrimonial jewelry. Historically, it also has been its most stabilizing factor. Economic crises come and go, but people continue to get married. However, the COVID-19 epidemic has broken some of those rules – not by reducing people’s inclination to hitch up for better or for worse, but rather by reducing their ability to do so in the proper way.

Getting married is not simply a union between two people. The ceremony and traditions are part of the package and people are reluctant to give up on any of them. This includes the event, the guests, the bridal gown and, yes, the engagement and diamond rings.

Take India for example. According to a KPMG report, the wedding industry in the vast country was worth about $50 billion per annum in 2020, and it was growing at a rate of some 25 percent to 30 percent per year. Nothing seemed to impact it – not the financial crisis in 2008, nor the Indian government’s more recent demonetization policies or introduction of additional taxes on goods and services. The country’s strong social tradition appeared to make it immune from most economic upheavals.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic that is. Enforced lockdowns and continuing restrictions on public gatherings brought the wedding industry to a virtual standstill. While some young couples opted for modest affairs and even ceremonies conducted virtually by Zoom, the majority seemed to be more inclined to cancel their planned events, and wait for better times when a traditional Indian wedding will be possible.

RINGS BEING HELD IN JEWELRY JAIL

A report in an American economic journal, Business Journal, put an interesting twist on the problems being caused by the COVID lockdown, highlighting a growing problem by which couples, who despite the restrictions had planned to go ahead with their engagements and weddings, were prevented from doing because they could not get hold of the rings they wanted.

Raquel, for example, had planned to get married in St. Pete Beach, Florida on April 14h, and had ordered her rings at a Kay Jewelers store in Minnesota in early March. The wedding ceremony was postponed as a result of the pandemic, but she and her fiancé agreed to get married in a private ceremony. She discovered that Kay Jewelers, along with stores in the Signet group, among them those belonging to Zales and Jared, were all shut down.

On customer described the situation on the Signet Facebook pages as having the rings being locked up in “jewelry jail.”

“We’re working tirelessly to safely reunite our customers with their jewelry across the country, working within different jurisdictions that allow employees to safely enter into stores wherever possible,” said David Bouffard, Signet’s Vice President for Corporate affairs, in a statement to Business Insider. “Our employees are invested in helping because they have been involved in the wedding or engagement process, and know how meaningful it is for their customers. Last week alone, for instance, we reunited nearly 350 customers with their jewelry — primarily rings for weddings, proposals, and anniversaries.”

India’s strong social tradition appeared to make its wedding industry immune from most economic upheavals, until the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to The Knot, 92 percent globally and 93 percent of U.S. engaged couples whose weddings have been impacted by COVID-19 are not canceling them, but rather are rescheduling.

WEDDINGS DELAYED BUT NOT CANCELLED

But if matrimonial jewelry has suffered a setback, it almost certainly is temporary. According to the online wedding registry, The Knot, 92 percent globally and 93 percent of U.S. engaged couples whose weddings have been impacted by COVID-19 are not canceling them, but rather are rescheduling for either later this year or next, or not making any changes at this time.

According to the The Knot, 94 percent of couples in the United States and 87 percent globally do not plan to reduce their overall guest count, and 95 percent in the United States and 90 percent globally do not anticipate lowering their budget.

“To-be weds and wedding professionals are experiencing an unprecedented time as this pandemic has halted one of the most celebrated moments in a couple’s life, but love is not canceled,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot. 

“It’s not a matter of if, but when events are permitted again, couples and guests will be more eager than ever to celebrate love and one of life’s biggest moments together after long periods of isolation.”