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Gen Z and Millennials dominate global diamond jewellery demand, according to De Beers

16 September 2018

Omnichannel strategies that are organic, authentic, humorous, and use out-of-the-box thinking resonate most with these consumers, De Beers notes

According to De Beers, Millennials and Gen Z rely as much on online shopping and social media as on physical retail stores when researching purchases

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group



The Millennial and Gen Z generations combined accounted for two-thirds of global diamond jewellery sales in 2017, as diamond jewellery demand reached a new record high of US$82 billion, according to the latest Diamond Insight Report by De Beers Group. 

Millennials, those people currently aged 21 to 39, represent 29 percent of the world’s population and are the current largest group of diamond consumers. They accounted for almost 60 percent of diamond jewellery demand in the US in 2017 and nearly 80 percent in China. Gen Z, those currently aged up to 20, represent 35 percent of the world’s population and will come of age as diamond consumers over the coming decades. Despite the generation being a long way from financial maturity, Gen Z is already making its presence felt in the diamond market, with the oldest Gen Z consumers (those currently aged 18 to 20) acquiring five percent of all diamond jewellery pieces in the US last year. 

The report noted that Millennials are in general more mistrusting, requiring brands to earn their trust before they can pursue growth, while Gen Z tend to be more individualistic and optimistic, desiring products that help build their own personal brands. At the same time, the two generations adopt similar stances with regards to valuing love, being digital natives, being engaged with social issues and desiring authenticity and self-expression. 

The 2018 Diamond Insight Report identified three key areas of opportunity that the two younger generations present for the diamond industry: (1) meeting Millennial and Gen Z needs for love and commitment on their own terms, (2) tailoring communications, messages and media to the natural behaviour and preferences of Millennials and Gen Z, and (3) aligning company and brand purposes and social commitments to Millennial and Gen Z priorities. 

De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said, “The younger generations present wide-ranging opportunities for the diamond industry with the significant size and purchasing power of today’s Millennials and tomorrow’s Gen Z consumers. While both of these generations desire diamonds just as much as the generations that have come before them, there are undoubtedly new dynamics at play: Those diamonds may now be in different product designs, used to symbolise new expressions of love, and researched and purchased in different ways to mark different moments in life.”

“Diamond jewellery demand reached a record global high in 2017. However, with the younger consumers’ desire for qualities that diamonds can perfectly embody – including love, connections, authenticity, uniqueness and positive social impact – the most exciting times for the diamond industry are still ahead of us if we can seize the opportunities,” he continued.