US jewellers report that more couples than ever are buying diamond engagement rings, with bridal sales being their primary source of diamond jewellery demand in recent months. The findings were published today in De Beers Group’s latest Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on relationships and engagements.
Interviews with independent jewellers around the country revealed that the rate of couples getting engaged has increased compared with the period when Covid-19 first had an impact in the US in the spring. In addition, despite challenging economic times, consumers were spending more than ever on diamond engagement rings – often upgrading in colour, cut and clarity, rather than size. Several jewellers speculated that with consumers spending less on elaborate weddings and/or honeymoons in the current environment, they had more to spend on choosing the perfect ring.
Interviewed for the report, Dr Terry Real, relationship therapist and author of the forthcoming book Us: The Power of Moving Beyond Me and You, said: “Part of the reason people are getting engaged during COVID is because there is so much distance between them and their community. The couple is intimate but thirsty for outside stimulation, for an environment to hold them beyond them. For a young person to have a performance of your love that’s witnessed is like water in the desert in this culture. The ring is that performance. Especially now.”
The report also includes findings from a national survey of 360 US women in serious relationships, undertaken in late October in collaboration with engagement and wedding website, The Knot. It found that the majority of respondents (54%) were thinking more about their engagement ring than the wedding itself (32%) or the honeymoon (15%), supporting jewelers’ hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of Covid-19 restrictions.
When it came to researching engagement rings, online was by far the predominant channel for gaining ideas/inspiration at 86% of consumers surveyed, with 85% saying they had saved examples of styles they liked. Only a quarter of respondents said they had looked in-store at a physical location for design inspiration.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “For many couples, the pandemic has brought them even closer together, in some instances speeding up the path to engagement after forming a deeper connection while experiencing lockdown and its associated ups and downs as a partnership. Engagement rings are taking on even greater symbolism in this environment, with retailers reporting couples are prepared to invest more than usual, particularly due to budget reductions in other areas.”
De Beers Group’s Diamond Insight Flash Report series is focused on understanding the US consumer perspective in light of Covid-19 and monitoring how it evolves as the crisis evolves. The company is augmenting its existing research programme with additional consumer, retailer and supply chain touch-basis to understand the pain points and the opportunities for stakeholders across the diamond pipeline.