De Beers Group’s latest Diamond Insight Report has shown that consumers now consider a product’s sustainability claims as much as its price when deciding what to purchase.

This comes via the company’s eight annual Diamond Insight Report, titled ‘Sustainability: shaping the future of the diamond sector’.

The report takes an in-depth look at the topic of sustainability in the diamond sector, including how sustainability considerations are influencing consumer decisions relating to natural diamonds, how the diamond industry is already a leader in many areas relating to sustainability, and how the industry must build on its momentum and continue to place sustainability at the heart of its value proposition to meet consumer expectations for the future.

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Based on a global study of more than 8,400 people across seven key consumer markets for diamonds, the report found that sustainability considerations were influencing consumer purchase decisions across all sectors, with 60% of consumers and more than 80% of opinion leaders (those who influence decisions of friends and family) having chosen to buy a product made in a more environmentally or socially
responsible way over any other product.

The study also found that fine jewellery ranks third, after only food and clothing, as the category most frequently purchased on the basis of sustainability considerations, with one in five consumers globally having bought jewellery because of its sustainability credentials in recent years.

When it came to diamond jewellery, the study found that sustainability considerations were a key factor for consumers in all markets.

Sustainability was ranked by 30% of consumers as their most important consideration – above price and design – when choosing a diamond.

The top five sustainability considerations for diamond consumers in the study were protection of the environment, fair worker treatment, conflict-free sourcing, supporting local communities and diamond origin.

These trends are being led by the younger generations, with 30% of millennials having bought jewellery with sustainability credentials as part of its branding, compared with only eight per cent of baby boomers.

Sustainability considerations were also higher among consumers with a higher education (67%) and those from affluent backgrounds (70%).

The study also found that sustainability-conscious consumers were prepared to pay a premium for natural diamonds that provide evidence of sustainability credentials, with 56% of consumers who were willing to pay more saying they were willing to pay between 10% and 20% more for natural diamond brands that could demonstrate they operate in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Nearly 17% of these consumers were open to paying 25% or more for a sustainable natural diamond.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “With sustainability being one of the key mega trends across all consumer sectors, this year’s Diamond Insight Report explores how sustainability factors are influencing consumer attitudes towards diamonds.

“As is clear from this research, a tipping point has been reached – sustainability is no longer a trend that’s coming over the horizon; it’s already one of the key considerations in diamond purchases.

“As a luxury product that is both unique to each individual and which holds deep emotional meaning, today’s consumers want to know that the diamond they have purchased aligns with their own values and has contributed to a better future for people and the planet – and they increasingly want evidence of this.

“The natural diamond industry has an impressive – if sometimes poorly understood – recent track record in creating immense and widespread benefits throughout the value chain, with ambitious sustainability commitments for the coming decade and beyond.

“As this report demonstrates, all players in the industry must now consider how they can best connect consumers more closely to this positive impact, which will be critical to maintaining long-term consumer trust, desire and loyalty.”