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Gen Z and millennials now account for two-thirds of global diamond jewellery demand

Rachel McAdams sporting Niwaka jewels. At the 88th Academy Awards ceremony diamonds dazzled on the red carpet as celebrities wore statement earrings, bold necklaces and multiple rings crafted with the white, sparkly stone. Tiffany & Co. adorned several stars for the glamorous evening including Reece Witherspoon, Elizabeth Banks and Cate Blanchett, while Charlize Theron wore $3.7million worth of Harry Winston jewellery. Although other colourful gemstones were spotted at the Oscars, which took place at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 28, it was diamonds that attracted the most attention.

The millennial and gen z generations combined accounted for two-thirds of global diamond jewellery sales in 2017, as diamond jewellery demand reached a new record high of US$82 billion (£62.8m).

According to data published today by De Beers Group in its latest Diamond Insight Report, consumers currently aged 21 to 39, represent 29% of the world’s population and are the current largest group of diamond consumers. They accounted for almost 60% of diamond jewellery demand in the US in 2017 and nearly 80% in China.

Furthermore, Gen Z, those currently aged up to 20, represent an even larger consumer generation – accounting for 35% of the world’s population – and will come of age as diamond consumers over the coming decades. Despite the generation being a long way from financial maturity, Gen Z is already making its presence felt in the diamond market, with the oldest Gen Z consumers (those currently aged 18 to 20) acquiring 5% of all diamond jewellery pieces in the US last year.

De Beers Group chief executive officer, Bruce Cleaver, shares: “The younger generations present wide-ranging opportunities for the diamond industry with the significant size and purchasing power of today’s millennials and tomorrow’s Gen Z consumers. While both of these generations desire diamonds just as much as the generations that have come before them, there are undoubtedly new dynamics at play: those diamonds may now be in different product designs, used to symbolise new expressions of love and researched and purchased in different ways to mark different moments in life.

“Diamond jewellery demand reached a record global high in 2017; however, with the younger consumers’ desire for qualities that diamonds can perfectly embody – including love, connections, authenticity, uniqueness and positive social impact – the most exciting times for the diamond industry are still ahead of us if we can seize the opportunities.”

Looking ahead, De Beers says future growth requires a closer alignment of the industry’s proposition with the needs of millennials and generation z.


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