US women increasingly buy engagement rings for themselves, and spend more on them than their partners do, De Beers said Monday in its annual Diamond Insight Report.
The proportion of engagement rings financed solely by brides rose to 14% in 2017 from 11% in 2015 and 7% in 2013, according to the report. The trend reflects growth in female purchasing power, one of several social changes impacting the segment De Beers refers to as “commitment jewelry.”
During the four years ending 2017, grooms’ average outlay on engagement rings dropped 13%, while brides’ spending rose 19%, De Beers noted. In 2017, brides who reported buying the ring themselves shelled out an average of $4,400, while grooms spent $3,300, the company said.
“This emphasizes that growing purchasing power among women is a factor to be reckoned with in the commitment space, and not only when it comes to self-purchasing of diamond jewelry,” the company noted.
The 2019 Insight Report focuses on how consumers view love and diamonds amid changing attitudes to relationships. While marriages rates have declined in the US and engaged couples are waiting longer to tie the knot, “love remains a constant,” and consumers are buying diamonds in a wider variety of ways to symbolize it, De Beers explained.
Commitment jewelry — diamond engagement rings, and diamond wedding bands or rings for women — has retained its important place in the market, with just over 70% of US brides acquiring a diamond engagement ring.
However, the global value of men’s gifts of diamond jewelry to women before or after a wedding now exceeds the value of the engagement- and wedding-ring market. Women in the US who cohabit with their partners now account for 10% of the female diamond-jewelry market. Meanwhile, more than 70% of people in same-sex relationships view diamonds as important for celebrating life’s special events, the report continued.
Those four trends — commitment jewelry, “love gifting,” cohabitation and same-sex couples — are the focus of this year’s edition of the De Beers research. Consumers are still attracted to diamonds as an emblem of love, but are approaching the product in new ways that mirror those contemporary modes of living, the company argued.
“While diamonds are still seen as the ultimate symbols of love, the diamond industry must focus on continuing to offer jewelry, brands and retail experiences that meet the modern consumer’s desire for individual products and experiences that reflect their own unique love story,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver.
Image: A couple with a diamond ring. (Getty Images/De Beers)