The Natural Diamond Council is propping up demand for mined diamonds among younger consumers in China by signing a strategic retail partnership with Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, highlighting the timeless beauty of diamonds and showcasing market-specific design trends to suit various consumer personalities, among others.
Mabel Wong McCormick, managing director for Greater China, Natural Diamond Council
Toi et Moi diamond rings, this one by Pans, are becoming popular options to mark engagements
This article first appeared in the JNA July/ August 2021 issue.
The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) is setting its sights on China, with the aim to bolster consumer demand and confidence in mined diamonds.
In May, NDC signed an exclusive strategic partnership with Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group to advocate the “Natural Diamonds Dream” and promote it to Chinese consumers, especially the younger generation, through diverse communication channels, accessible digital content and professional training resources.
The partnership aims to convey the value of mined diamonds to Chinese consumers and enhance their confidence in and desire for the product. It arranges for a significant investment in marketing, advertising, visual merchandising and sales associate training, further building Chow Tai Fook’s reputation as the destination for natural diamond jewellery.
As the first and exclusive strategic retail partner of the NDC in China, Chow Tai Fook will fully support the natural diamond-related promotional and educational campaigns launched by NDC in China.
NDC will also step up its support in different areas including advertising and digital assets, social media content and search engine marketing to completely reveal the core values and emotional significance of natural diamonds underlined by their preciousness, rarity and uniqueness.
"One of our key priorities this year is to work closely with natural diamond retailers to protect and convey the authentic and unique beauty of natural diamonds together," said NDC CEO David Kellie.
Chow Tai Fook Managing Director (Mainland China) Chan Sai-Cheong remarked, “I am confident that this partnership will solidify the values of and forge consumers’ desire for natural diamonds. It will also help young consumers nurture an emotional connection with and recognise the symbolism of natural diamonds, making them their preferred choice for jewellery."
Mabel Wong McCormick, NDC’s managing director for Greater China, said the strategic partnership with Chow Tai Fook enables NDC to leverage the group’s extensive sales network, stellar reputation and strong support to reach a much wider consumer community even more quickly and deeply through its content.
Noting that greater consumer awareness of the significance and value of mined diamonds would fuel market expansion, McCormick added, “We welcome more collaborative parties to join us to drive the growth of the natural diamond industry together.”
Since 2020 when the Diamond Producers Association was rebranded as NDC, the council has developed a diverse portfolio of digital content for mined diamonds in Greater China, attracting over five million consumers to its platforms every month, according to McCormick.
“Consumers enjoy culturally relevant content such as Style & Innovation, Epic Diamonds, Inside the World of Diamonds, Hollywood & Pop Culture, and Love and Diamonds on our content hub, onlynaturaldiamonds.com.cn, or through WeChat, Weibo and RED,” the NDC official shared.
NDC noted that consumer fondness for natural diamonds is growing across the globe. Actively listening and responding to consumer needs, and flexibly adapting the messages and business models to nurture a long-lasting emotional connection with consumers will be the key to the sustainable growth of the diamond jewellery industry. Over the last 35 years, the value of natural diamonds appreciated by an average of 3 per cent every year. In its 2019 Global Diamond Industry Report, Bain & Co found that the diamond market has grown threefold over the past 50 years. NDC does not see any slowdown in this market in the foreseeable future. Industry analyst Edahn Golan said total global retail demand for diamond jewellery in 2019 was around US$79 billion.
Consumer demand began to recover in China from the second quarter of 2020. Sales during the year-end period were much better than expected, with a number of major retailers such as Tiffany & Co reporting record holiday sales.
This year started well with global demand helped by strong sales for the Chinese New Year and encouraging results from the US. Chow Tai Fook’s sales in mainland China in the first quarter rose 141 per cent year on year. The market is optimistic about the second half of 2021 as vaccination drives and pent-up wedding demand bode well for diamond jewellery sales.
“The numbers support our strongly held beliefs that consumer engagement and desire for natural diamonds remains very high, confirming our strategies to engage consumers predominantly through the multitude of digital channels with culturally relevant content for a millennial audience,” said McCormick.
NDC also teamed up with China’s top industry experts in fashion, jewellery and media to launch the first 2021 Spring/Summer trend report in March 2021, focusing on how diamond jewellery can represent the uniqueness of each individual.
Tapping into Chinese consumers’ tastes, the report serves to inspire and ignite the passion for natural diamond jewellery throughout the year.
In the report, NDC’s experts highlighted five distinct trends – Natural Simplicity, Diamond Delights, Fluid Spirit, Art Deco and Romantic Halo – to help guide consumers in styling their natural diamond jewellery this year.
McCormick emphasised in the trend report that natural diamonds are associated with words like forever, pure and precious.
“This has always been the case in the past; it is still the case and it will never change. During the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen that people value relationships more than ever and care about each other more deeply from the heart. Natural diamonds are an ideal expression of people's desire for a real and long-term emotional connection. They represent every unique individual and every beating heart,” she said.