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THE DIAMOND JEWELRY MARKETS

UNDERSTANDING THE SELF-PURCHASING FEMALE MARKET: REAL OR LARGELY ASPIRATIONAL?

 

Some three years ago, in its 2017 Insight Report, De Beers identified self-empowered, self-purchasing women as among the diamond industry’s most promising sources of future growth.

For decades, diamonds have been marketed almost exclusively as gifts of love and symbols of marriage,” the report stated. “While this universal and powerful motivation will remain the bedrock of the industry, new opportunities are clearly emerging as the position of women in society and the economy evolves.”

Now, an in-depth survey conducted by California-based MVI Marketing has provided a breakdown of the women more likely to purchase their own diamond jewelry in the United States. The study was conducted in December 2019 and involves 1,011 respondents living in households with annual incomes above $50,000. All the women polled were between the ages of 25 and 40.

The study did not only look at diamond jewelry, but other luxury products as well.

TIFFANY THE NUMBER ONE PREFERNCE

As one would expect, the level of income enjoyed by the self-purchasing female consumer plays a critical role in the decision-making process. Of the individuals surveyed, only 7 percent reported household incomes in excess of $200,000 per annum. Some 14 percent of them reported that their most recent jewelry purchase exceeded $6,000, compared to only 3 percent of all other age groups.

In contrast, 57 percent of all jewelry purchases by women were for items worth less than $700, and 42 percent were for items below $400 in value.

The somewhat modest level of the average purchasing prices may leave one somewhat incredulous about the favored location for making jewelry purchases, albeit the choices listed by the respondents may have been aspirational more than based in reality. According to the MVI survey, 33 percent of all self-purchasing American jewelry consumers listed Tiffany & Co. as the top choice, with a local independent fine jeweler coming in second at 28 percent, ahead of run of the mill alternatives, such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Zales and Jared.

Some 33 percent of all self-purchasing American jewelry consumers listed Tiffany & Co. as the top choice for making jewelry purchases.

Less surprising was the fact that Tiffany & Co. was chosen by 46 percent of women with household incomes higher than $200,000. Some 11 percent of women in the category listed Macy’s as their jewelry outlet of choice.

According to the survey, Tiffany is the jewelry or watch brand most likely to be self-purchased young and financially independent women, with some 35 percent listing it as their first choice. The considerably more affordable Pandora brand was in second place, with 22 percent support.

Online marketing, however, is helping change the equation, not only allowing the small manufacturer to develop a brand identity with limited cost, but also to create personal relationships with members of target audience and also to bypass the traditional retailers by going straight to the consumers.

Initially microbrands were sold in relatively confined geographic markets, but ecommerce and the ability to deliver goods safely to almost any point on the globe has meant they are going international as well.

The over-60s population in developed countries is forecast to grow by a third by 2030, and according to De Beers report could account for more than half of diamond jewelry consumption.

AGE OF CONSUMER A DEFINITE FACTOR

According to De Beers 2017 Insight report, the growing social empowerment of women coupled with their rising financial capacity is impacting buying patterns in the diamond market. 

In 2016, the report stated, some 31 percent of all women’s diamond jewelry in the United States was bought by women, with self-purchasing of non-bridal diamond jewelry in the country growing by more than a third between 2005 and 2015, reaching a rate of 33 percent.

The average age of respondents in the more recent MVI study may have obscured the sections of the market where self-purchasing is more prevalent.  It limited its study to woman of age 40 and lower, but according to the De Beers data in the United States, China and Japan, self-purchasing women tend to between the ages of 35 and 54, which is an unsurprising fact since it is during this period that they most likely attain their highest earning capacity. 

That also may change in time. The over-60s population in developed countries is forecast to grow by a third by 2030, and according to the De Beers report will account for more than half of consumption growth in the locations that it studied.