New research published today by the De Beers Group in its latest Diamond Insight Report reveals that shifting relationship dynamics, women’s expanding roles in society and changing perceptions of femininity are creating new motivations for diamond jewellery acquisitions.
Social and economic changes are leading to expanded symbolism for diamond jewellery, record levels of self-purchase and the establishment of new consumer types.
The Diamond Insight Report 2017 highlights the emergence of three key trends that are having a direct impact on how and why people buy diamond jewellery.
First, changes to family and personal relationships are leading to diamond jewellery being purchased and given to symbolise a wider range of ‘moments’ in a life beyond those directly connected to relationship milestones. As marriage generally comes later in life, and as it is seen as a union between two equal individuals, women are receiving diamonds for multiple occasions both before and after marriage. Alongside traditional relationship milestones, diamond jewellery is increasingly being bought to celebrate occasions such as a new job, a promotion and personal achievements more broadly.
Second, women’s increased economic participation and higher earnings are supporting growth in women buying diamond jewellery for themselves. More than a quarter of women’s diamond jewellery bought in 2016 in each of the four main consumer nations (the US, China, Japan and India), representing more than US$18 billion (£13.6bn) in value, was acquired through the self-purchase route. In Hong Kong, female self-purchase accounts for the majority of diamond jewellery sales.
Last but not least, a new perception of femininity is emerging that is more closely associated with strength and confidence, alongside more traditional attributes such as caring and nurturing. This is leading to diamonds being purchased to symbolise a wider range of emotions, such as joy, optimism and pride, and to the emergence of a new class of consumer: the mature single woman. Meanwhile, feminine success is increasingly being defined through qualities such as uniqueness and personal meaningfulness, and there is an enhanced focus on the importance of experiences, leading to greater interest in purchases that can reflect these characteristics.
De Beers Group chief executive officer, Bruce Cleaver, comments: “These societal and economic changes will have direct consequences for a wide range of industries, but they are especially exciting for the diamond sector. As diamonds are among the most powerfully symbolic purchases, as they lend themselves to individual design, and as they are effectively a hybrid of product and experience, the new trends present a major opportunity to build on the existing base of demand.
“While the giving of diamond jewellery as a token of love and commitment continues to constitute the majority of purchases, it’s encouraging to see these additional sources of demand emerge. It’s also great to see women buying more diamond jewellery for themselves in recognition of their achievements, or simply because they want to and they can. The diamond industry now needs to focus on what female consumers are telling us about how they feel about diamonds and make sure that products and buying experiences match their expectations.”