The CEO of De Beers Group, Bruce Cleaver, has shared key insights for the diamond trade in advance of the upcoming holiday gifting season and in the context of Covid-19, based on the findings of comprehensive consumer research recently undertaken in the US, China and India, published in the company’s Diamond Insight Global Sentiment Report.
Mr Cleaver shared the insights during his keynote address at the Luxury by JCK virtual forum, highlighting that consumer desire for diamonds remained strong in all three markets and that sentiment was improving as consumers adjusted to the ‘new normal’.
The research, which surveyed 2,800 men and women aged 20 to 65 with household incomes of at least $75,000 in the US and a similar demographic in China and India, looked at a range of consumer indicators, including how they were feeling in the current environment, gifting intentions for the holiday season and preferences for engaging with brands and retailers over the coming months.
Key findings included:
· Intention to purchase diamond jewellery during the upcoming festive season was high across all markets – in the US, almost 60% of men surveyed said they intend to purchase diamond jewellery for a significant other, while nearly a third of women intend to purchase for themselves. In China and India, over 80% of both men and women were very or quite likely to purchase diamond jewellery for a significant other or for themselves.
· Under 35 professionals drove the high levels of intent and expectation to acquire diamond jewellery during the key festive season – these consumers tend to be of middle affluence and work full-time.
· Consumers in all three markets felt that ‘how special the recipient feels’ was the most important factor in gifting this year (above ‘how useful/practical it is’). For those planning to purchase diamond jewellery this holiday, ‘how beautiful it is’ was another important factor.
· Over 80% of those intending to purchase diamond jewellery during the 2020 holiday season had either self-purchased or gifted diamond jewellery in the past two years, highlighting the importance of connecting with past customers.
· In every market, consumer interest gravitated towards classic pieces, with simple solitaires the main preference. However, a subset of consumers – largely those who felt their lives were returning to normal and with higher household incomes – were more interested in experimenting beyond classic designs, showing a greater interest in diamond jewellery brands.
· Chinese consumer sentiment was ahead of other key markets, with 85% feeling settled into a new and familiar routine and 24% feeling fully reconnected to their life and previous routine. In the US and India, confidence lagged China but was improving, with the majority of respondents in these markets believing they were moving towards settling into a new routine.
· Only 8% of consumers in the US and 4% in China felt their situation was deteriorating.
· The majority of consumers surveyed said they want and expect a dialogue with diamonds this season, even those who remained uncertain about the current situation.
Mr Cleaver said: “This research, undertaken in three of the largest consumer markets for diamonds, highlights a number of important insights for diamond jewellery retailers as we enter the key end-of-year selling season. While it clearly demonstrates that consumer desire for diamonds is as strong as it has ever been, holiday communications to consumers should focus on the power of diamonds, as inherently beautiful miracles of nature, to convey emotional meaning, gratitude for loved ones and expressions of self-reward – all of which bring joy and positivity in a time when it is desperately needed.
“While the external environment remains uncertain, in this unprecedented moment in time, we have the unusual opportunity to build even more lasting and meaningful connections with consumers at the culmination of a year when we’ve all been reminded that we cannot take our precious relationships, or even human connections, for granted.”