According to Alrosa, the positive market dynamics were mostly driven by consumer demand, but also were influenced by positive currency exchange rates.
In North America, which during 2017 accounted for fully 53 percent of all global diamond jewelry sales in terms of value, retail jewelry sales rose by 5 percent when compared to the first quarter of the previous year. GDP growth during the period was 2.3 percent, meaning that the diamond jewelry market is outperforming the general economy.
ONCE AGAIN ASIA-PACIFIC SHOWING STRONGEST GROWTH
But the region showing the most dramatic growth was Asia-Pacific , where sales were reported to have increased by 11 percent. Like the United States, this was in excess of the also robust general economic expansion reported in East and South Asia, where the economies increased in size at a 6.4 percent annual rate, marking the fastest level of growth in more than three years.
According to the Alrosa report, Asia-Pacific growth was main due to stronger sales of diamond jewelry in Mainland China, as well as strengthened demand in Hong Kong and South Korea.
In 2017, the Asia-Pacific markets accounted for 20 percent of the global consumption of jewelry with polished diamonds.
INDIAN MARKET STEADY, WHILE JAPAN AND EUROPE REGISTER GROWTH
The Indian market remained stable during the first quarter, the Alrosa report indicated, with observers noting decreased sales among small chains and independents, while large jewelry chains demonstrated a steady increase in sales.
In Europe, sales increased by 14 percent, but this had less to do with actual volumes of merchandise and more to do with the positive effect of the strengthening of the euro against the U.S. dollar.
Sales of jewelry with polished diamonds in Japan grew by 7 percent, with the Japanese themselves accounting for the lion’s share of sales. Nonetheless, noted the Alrosa report, the weakening of the yen against these Chinese yuan encouraged greater demand for diamond jewelry among Chinese tourists visiting the country.
Overall, the worldwide luxury market grew by almost 13 percent during the first quarter of 2018, almost twice the rate of the diamond jewelry segment. As one would expect, the largest growth also took place the Asia-Pacific region, which expanded by more than 20 percent.