The share of US women buying their own engagement rings doubled from 7 percent to 14 percent within a five-year period, the latest diamond industry research published by De Beers Group revealed.
They are also less frugal than men. According to the Diamond Insight Report, women shell out on average 33 percent more than men – US$4,400 compared with US$3,300.
The research reflects increasing female purchasing power and the continuing evolution of financial dynamics within modern relationships, noted De Beers.
“While society is changing rapidly, love remains a constant and diamonds are now acquired and used in a wider variety of ways to symbolise it,” noted the company.
According to the study, diamonds continue to play a central role as a symbol of love amid evolving marriage traditions. Despite lower marriage rates in the US, with engagement periods becoming longer (five times longer than pre-1980), diamonds are by far the leading choice for engagements and weddings, with eight out of 10 wedding rings and nearly nine out of 10 engagement rings in the US containing diamonds.
The value of diamonds given as a gift of love before or after a wedding now exceeds the value of the engagement and wedding ring market. In addition, the fast-growing segment of unmarried cohabiting couples also express substantial demand for diamonds to signify their love. The leading motivation for diamond jewellery purchases in cohabiting couples is as a gift of love, and women in these relationships now represent 10 percent of the diamond jewellery market in the US.
Same-sex couples also see diamonds as centrally important to symbolise their relationships, with more than 70 percent of people in same-sex relationships viewing diamonds as important to celebrate life’s special events. Diamond jewellery is purchased both to commemorate each other and the relationship, and the preference is for more modern and less traditional and gender-specific designs.
As the millennial generation becomes a more significant force in the economy, they are now spending more than other couples on engagement rings. The average spend on engagement rings by millennials in the US is now higher than the average spend on engagement rings in the US market as a whole. Meanwhile, brands are increasingly capturing millennials’ attention. Over 40 percent of the value of all engagement rings in the US comes from international luxury diamond jewellery brands and international designer brands, up from just under 30 percent in 2015.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, commented, “However, while diamonds are still seen as the ultimate symbols of love, the diamond industry must focus on continuing to offer jewellery, brands and retail experiences that meet the modern consumer’s desire for individual products and experiences that reflect their own unique love story. And it will be increasingly important to share information about the hugely positive impact diamonds have for producing countries and communities around the world, as this reinforces their value as symbols of love that their owners can be proud to wear.”