Industry Waking Up To The Fact That It's A Woman's World As WellSeptember 14, 17
Interesting that De Beers has uncovered that "shifting relationship dynamics, women’s expanding roles in society and changing perceptions of femininity are creating new motivations for diamond jewelry acquisitions" in its just-launched Diamond Insight Report. The trend of female self-purchasing of jewelry has been developing for some years. I, personally, have written about it several decades over the past decade or so.
Nonetheless, the De Beers research makes for interesting reading. As it said in a statement released today (Thursday), social and economic changes are leading to expanded symbolism for diamond jewelry, record levels of self-purchase and the establishment of new consumer types. In particular, the Diamond Insight Report 2017 highlights the emergence of three key trends that are having a direct impact on how and why people buy diamond jewelry:
- Changes to family and personal relationships are leading to diamond jewelry being purchased and given to symbolize a wider range of ‘moments’ in a life beyond those directly connected to relationship milestones. As marriage generally comes later in life, and as it is seen as a union between two equal individuals, women are receiving diamonds for multiple occasions both before and after marriage. Alongside traditional relationship milestones, diamond jewelry is increasingly being bought to celebrate occasions such as a new job, a promotion and personal achievements more broadly.
- Women’s increased economic participation and higher earnings are supporting growth in women buying diamond jewelry for themselves. More than a quarter of women’s diamond jewelry bought in 2016 in each of the four main consumer nations (the US, China, Japan and India), representing more than $18 billion in value, was acquired through the self-purchase route. In Hong Kong, female self-purchase accounts for the majority of diamond jewelry sales.
- A new perception of femininity is emerging that is more closely associated with strength and confidence, alongside more traditional attributes such as caring and nurturing. This is leading to diamonds being purchased to symbolize a wider range of emotions, such as joy, optimism and pride, and to the emergence of a new class of consumer: the mature single woman. Meanwhile, feminine success is increasingly being defined through qualities such as uniqueness and personal meaningfulness, and there is an enhanced focus on the importance of experiences, leading to greater interest in purchases that can reflect these characteristics.
De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said: “These societal and economic changes will have direct consequences for a wide range of industries, but they are especially exciting for the diamond sector. As diamonds are among the most powerfully symbolic purchases, as they lend themselves to individual design, and as they are effectively a hybrid of product and experience, the new trends present a major opportunity to build on the existing base of demand.
“While the giving of diamond jewelry as a token of love and commitment continues to constitute the majority of purchases, it’s encouraging to see these additional sources of demand emerge. It’s also great to see women buying more diamond jewelry for themselves in recognition of their achievements, or simply because they want to and they can. The diamond industry now needs to focus on what female consumers are telling us about how they feel about diamonds and make sure that products and buying experiences match their expectations.”
Clearly, marketing executives have their work cut out for them in addressing this consumer sector. And that's another task that the Diamond Producers Association is doubtless already working on, along with dissecting the Millennials market. I'm sure not a few marketers look back with a rueful smile on the advertisements of the past where a beautiful and radiant bride looks lovingly at her new diamond ring with the tagline underneath of: A diamond is forever. Apart from coming up with a brilliant marketing slogan that could last 70 years or so, those were more simple and straightforward times.