Diamond consumer trends have shifted, with more women having a greater degree of self-purchase spending power than they did in previous generations. The increase in their spending power has triggered a direct impact on businesses in the diamond sector resulting in the reassessment of traditional thinking on diamonds sales, De Beer group of companies cautioned.
This year’s Diamond Insight Report by the Diamond Group of Companies, 15 percent owned by Botswana government, illustrates that diamond promotion, including design, concept and role models, should reflect the new reality of womanhood if the industry is to capitalise on the continuing strong desire for diamond ownership. “Diamonds possess all the attributes required to symbolise femininity in the future just as strongly as they have done in the past, but the industry will need to continue evolving to fully benefit from this opportunity.”
In past centuries, diamonds were viewed as the preserve of masculinity, representing strength and the immutability of power. As the years passed, CEO Bruce Cleaver observes, diamonds increasingly became to be seen as symbols of romantic love, usually gifted by men to women. The Report notes that while much more still needs to be done to correct the balance on gender inequality, women now occupy a much wider range of roles in society and more senior positions in the workplace. Thus, Cleaver says they have a more powerful voice and command a higher share of global spending than ever before, with the trend towards greater female empowerment set to grow further still.
De Beers’ findings show that self-purchase in the United States of America (US) and Japan is more likely to be among married women, while in China it is the single women who acquire for themselves. Most self-purchasers in the three main diamond markets are aged over 35 and have medium to high income levels, according to the report.
The most popular types of jewellery for self-purchase are rings across all markets. In China, rings account for more than half of all self-purchases. In the US, earrings follow close behind rings, while in Japan necklaces are the second most common self-purchase.
De Beers says the average price of self-purchased diamond jewellery tends to be slightly lower than that of all diamond jewellery acquired for women (including items bought as gifts). Further, while the price difference isn’t large in the US and China, it’s more notable in Japan. “Most commonly, self-purchase results from a spontaneous decision rather than being motivated by a specific occasion. This emphasises the importance of jewellery and the retail environment to stimulate impulse desire.”
The motivations that drive diamond acquisitions differ by country; in the US, De Beers finds that the top motivator is good price (23 per cent). However, in the remaining 77 per cent of purchases, the driving reasons are much more emotional. “Emotional drivers are particularly powerful in China, with celebration of relationship and personal milestones topping the list, while Japanese women buy on impulse.”
The story is different in India, where the mining giant observes that single women are likely to buy diamond jewellery once they have saved enough after starting work. “These are often important ‘milestone’ purchases which give them a powerful sense of achievement. Married women in India buy for themselves to fulfil a long-held dream.”
Often, self-purchasing is done on impulse and for no specific occasion. As such, significant proportions of self-purchases are made without any prior research. Such purchases range from 21 per cent in China to 40 per cent in the US. However, when it comes to planned acquisitions, the internet, with its ability to combine communications with selling, is a major source of information on brands, designs and prices, particularly in the US and Japan, reports De Beers.