Global consumer demand for diamond jewelry hit a new all-time high in 2017, climbing to US $82 billion, a two percent increase on the previous year, according to industry insight data published by De Beers Group prior to JCK Las Vegas.
The U.S. was the main driver of growth for the fourth consecutive year, where positive macroeconomics and strong consumer confidence saw demand for diamond jewelry increase four percent to US $43 billion, representing more than half of total global demand.
“People around the world are spending more on diamond jewelry than ever before and it’s encouraging to see consumers in the U.S., the world’s largest and most mature market, leading the way,” stated Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group in a statement.
New designs and brand concepts are playing a key role in driving demand, Cleaver said. In fact, market research shows an increase in self-purchase of diamond jewelry, representing 33 percent of total U.S. diamond jewelry pieces acquired in 2017.
Companies like Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio are expanding their fine diamond jewelry offerings in core basics and fashion items, set in gold and silver, on their own or mixed with gems and pearls. Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and senior merchandiser, cited diamond baguettes trending among a new generation of diamond buyers. She said fashion diamond trends continue to favor jewelry that can be stacked and layered—delicate pendant necklaces in different lengths, adjustable bracelets (a la bolo style), bands and rings with negative space.
With the Internet and communications technology disrupting the supply chain and the way consumers learn about and buy products, it’s critical that jewelers know their customers and reach them with curated products on channels specific to them.
The Diamond Producers Association sees success with this kind of targeted approach promoting its “Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond” campaign. During their presentation at the annual Plumb Club Breakfast symposium at JCK Las Vegas in June, Deborah Marquardt, DPA chief marketing officer, said that, after its first full year of funding, the campaign’s targeted media generated more than 5.5 billion positive diamond impressions in the U.S. market that did not exist in 2016 when DPA was formed.
DPA is focused on gathering market intelligence and targeting media to the exact individuals it needs to reach and influence. If you’re an adult, age 18 to 34, or have the media habits of one, it’s 98 percent likely you’ve seen “Real is Rare” advertising 20+ times. If you haven’t seen one ad, said Marquardt, you’re outside of the media target. “We will not move the needle by preaching to the converted.”
To that end, Marquardt cited independent research by Millward Brown revealing an uptick in diamonds viewed as “part of a rare and special relationship”, “the ultimate gift of love”, and “having the power to make a relationship feel significant and lasting”.
In fact, DPA Trade Lead Grant Mobley cited that, via public relations, influencers and social media consumer and trade use of #RealisRare, and tagging @RealisaDiamond across social platforms grew five times in six months. DPA initiates daily conversations about diamonds that are topical, relevant, meaningful, and fun, and is also an active community booster liking, commenting, and reposting others’ diamond content.
“Leveraging the “Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond” content in your own marketing is a way that your stores can leverage the multimillion dollar campaign investment that DPA is making, and make this diamond rallying cry even stronger,” said Mobley, who points jewelers to a trade portal on diamondproducers.com for research and campaign insights, diamond content, and customizable collateral. Moreover, DPA is launching a new diamond e-learning platform designed to help associates close diamond sales.
While bridal jewelry represents about half of the diamond category, self-purchase is a third and growing. Sarah Gorvitz, who leads strategic communications and insights for DPA, said the organization is working to expand the definition of diamond-worthy moments and suggest new reasons and occasions to drive diamond affinity and purchase.
With the holidays approaching, Gorvitz cited, consider that seven in 10 women shoppers buy something for themselves while shopping for others, so promoting self-purchase this holiday season could create a big opportunity for jewelers. Look out for new self-purchase creative launching late third quarter by DPA to expand the audience and scope of its diamond messaging.
There are companies empowering self-purchasing women in new campaigns for fourth quarter like Original Designs of New York. The brand’s “I am a Woman” campaign is a tribute to women, comparing the qualities of a woman to that of a diamond—beauty, strength, brilliance, explains Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development.
“It resonates with our customers because it celebrates our differences, and the journeys we go through that, like a diamond make us unique,” explained Fletcher. Collections in the series include “I am a Diamond”, “Celebrate Yourself”, “Rise” and “Shine”, marketing clever taglines like “Beautiful in all shapes, sizes and colors”, “You can’t break me”, and “I thrive under pressure”!