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The De Beers Group has released its 2022 Diamond Insight Report, concentrating on how younger diamond consumers – and in particular Gen Z – perceive and engage with diamond jewelry.
Entitled, “A new diamond world: bringing trusted brands to new generations in a digital age,” it includes a survey of 18,000 women in the United States that was conducted earlier this year, exploring how a handful of megatrends are creating a new future for diamond jewelry acquisition, spurred by global events, the power of digital technology and attitudes of younger generations.
“The convergence of these trends means the diamond industry must prepare for a future where new, digital-native and socially-conscious consumers expect to engage with brands and retailers in fundamentally different ways to the generations that have come before them,” said Esther Oberbeck, De Beers Senior Vice President for Strategy Analytics & Insights.
ETHICS AND BRANDS
The report found that 36 percent of women overall and 39 percent of Gen Z now specifically seek information on a jewelry brand’s ethical credentials when buying diamond jewelry. Some 40 percent of women overall said that knowing about the positive impact of diamonds on local mining communities would make them more likely to buy diamonds, while this proportion went up to 50 percent for Gen Z consumers.
Branded diamond jewelry represented two-thirds of all diamond jewelry purchases in the United States in 2021 – twice the proportion in 2015 – and almost 80 per cent of all sales by value.
Branded offerings appealed most to Gen Z consumers, who saw brands as contributing to their sense of self-worth and desire for selfexpression. A total of 76 percent of diamond jewelry purchases by Gen Z consumers were branded, compared with 64 percent for Gen X and only 38 percent for Baby Boomers.
In addition, affluent consumers and those purchasing diamond jewelry for themselves were more likely to desire brands. Brands represented 74 percent of diamond jewelry purchases among women earning more than $150,000, compared with 65 percent across all incomes.
About 73 percent of self-purchased diamonds were branded compared with 62 percent for bridal and 61 percent for gifting.
RISING STRENGTH OF ONLINE PHYGITAL SALES
Online sales of diamond jewelry represented 25 percent of U.S. sales by value and 31 percent by volume in 2021. This compared with 2015, when online represented only 14 percent and 18 percent of sales respectively.
Online purchases were higher than average among Gen Z consumers – 42 percent of total Gen Z purchases. Those those self-purchasing equaled 40 percent of total purchases, and single women accounted for 37 percent of total purchases.
Additionally, 54 percent of online purchases in 2021 were by people buying diamond jewelry for the first time. While this was likely due to pandemic-related store closures, the Diamond Insight Report suggested that it also indicates a growing trust in diamond jewelry ecommerce. Importantly, 68 percent of U.S. consumers who had purchased diamond jewelry online said they intended to do so again in the future.
In the United States, 49 percent of all diamond jewelry purchases are now researched online, compared with only 29 percent in 2015. Of that 49 percent, 19 percent of ultimate purchases occurred online while 30 percent were in-store, highlighting the importance of a seamless phygital offering, the report stated.
The arrival of Web3, NFTs and the metaverse has the potential to open up new revenue, customer acquisition and brand opportunities for diamond jewelry brands, the report said, bringing new virtual shopping, entertainment and socializing experiences to digitally-savvy consumers. With a number of high-profile luxury brands already investing heavily in this space, it promises to be an emerging area of focus for diamond brands.