Diamonds are a Millennial & Gen-Z’s Second-Best Friend

Retail and Consumer Confidence
21/01/2021 11:43

In the last quarter of 2020, the Natural Diamond Council surveyed 5,000 respondents to better understand the desirability, perceived value, and shopping habits of American Millennials (25 – 39 y/o) and Generation Z (18 – 24 y/o). Together they represent 38% of the adult population and 60% of the demand for natural diamond jewelry. Within the next decade, their income is projected to rise by more than 70%.

When prompted with a list of luxury items and asked to consider which they would most want to buy or receive, if money were no object, only the desire for vacations would be ranked higher than natural diamond jewelry. Diamond jewelry lead as the most highly desired tangible luxury good overall. The list included luxury items such as handbags, accessories, watches clothing, electronics, etc.

“Despite the pandemic, or because of it, the desirability of diamonds remains very high amongst this audience with real diamond jewelry being number 2 only to travel when it comes to choices on which to spend a discretionary expenditure.” says David Kellie, CEO of Natural Diamond Council.

Millennials and Generation Z acquire natural diamond jewelry both for themselves and as gifts. Within the cohort of 18 to 39-year-olds the following are some purchase trends with regards to natural diamond jewelry:

  • 50% are Self-purchasing consumers. Of this trend, 72% were women who valued design, versatility, and long-term style.
  • 80% bought diamond jewelry as a gift (28% buying both for gifts and for themselves). Men largely buy gifts for their significant others, while women gift to their mothers, children, and significant others. Reasons for gifting included long-term value, daily wear, the design, and diamond jewelry symbolizes both love and connection.
  • 25% have purchased diamond jewelry with a “just because” attitude.
  • 89% have purchased for a special occasion, related to engagement/weddings, annual events, or for special occasions such as the birth of a child or career achievement.

“Zoom-buying” could account for the trend-shift, as nearly half the natural diamond pieces acquired were earrings and necklaces. The average price paid for pieces acquired in the last 2 years was $2,400, with male purchasers paying $3,000 and females $1,900.

Almost all buyers researched before purchasing by comparing prices online, looking to loved ones for advice, and using social media or articles for inspiration. Buyers typically visited 4 or 5 retail touchpoints before making the final purchase. While the majority of the purchases were made in person, 28% were made online. About half of those receiving diamond jewelry as a gift were involved in the purchase process.

Key takeaways 

  • Those aged 18 – 39 have a strong affinity for diamond jewelry
  • Self-purchase or gift are the main reasons for buying natural diamond jewelry
  • Key reasons for purchasing diamonds were the uniqueness, emotional connection, value, and versatility
  • Those who already had diamonds were more enthusiastic to grow their collection
  • Following advice from loved ones, Social Media is an important source of inspiration
  • The gift purchasers are more likely to involve the recipient in both the research and purchase decision
  • 37% of respondents intend to buy fine jewelry in the next 12 months and 27% expect to receive it
  • The purchase profile is expected to remain the same as we have observed over the last 2 years 

Natural Diamond Council conducted this survey to track the desirability of diamonds and reinforce the sustainability of the category. Consumer focus on items that carry emotional symbolism and value is heightened during this period as the country continues to endure the effects of the pandemic. The results show Millennials and Gen-Z both have a strong relationship to diamond jewelry where it is an inspirational luxury good, high on their wish lists.

The full Consumer Insights Report on Diamond Desirability (US) can be downloaded below.