De Beers’ 2021 Rough Diamond Sales Up 75 Percent

SourcingFeb 25, 2022

De Beers’ 2021 Rough Diamond Sales Up 75 Percent

Consumer sales of diamond jewelry in the U.S. surpassed sales in 2020 and 2019 in the first half of the year.

De Beers’ rough diamond sales rose 75 percent year-over-year in 2021 to $4.9 billion.
London—De Beers Group reported strong sales and diamond production in 2021, bolstered by increasing consumer demand in the U.S.
In the first half of the year, consumer sales of diamond jewelry in the U.S., as well as mainland China, surpassed sales in 2020 and pre-pandemic 2019.
Though the pandemic impacted its other markets in the first half, the company reported positive recovery across the board by the second half. 
Holiday season sales increased by about one-third year-over-year.
Total revenue surged 66 percent year-over-year to $5.6 billion, compared with $3.4 billion in 2020.
Rough diamond sales were up 75 percent to $4.9 billion, compared with $2.8 billion in 2020.
Midstream capacity is recovering, said De Beers, in spite of a second wave of COVID-19 infections in India in the second quarter. Midstream sentiment and rough diamond demand were “robust” throughout 2021.
Downstream and midstream demand conditions continued to improve, which increased rough diamond production and prices from the “significant reductions” seen at the start of the pandemic, said De Beers.
Rough diamond sales volume were up 56 percent to 33.4 million carats, compared with 21.4 million carats in 2020.
The average realized price was $146 per carat, up 10 percent from $133 per carat in 2020, which De Beers attributed to positive market sentiment that led to an 11 percent increase in the average rough price index.
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Rough diamond production was up 29 percent to 32.3 million carats, compared with 25.1 million carats in 2020, due in part to lower production and demand levels in 2020 related to COVID-19.
The miner battled operational issues and heavy rains in southern Africa in the first quarter, but increased production to meet demand.
De Beers attributed the strength of demand to a few factors, including an accumulation of savings by U.S. consumers, pent-up demand for weddings and engagements, less luxury travel, and the draw of diamonds as meaningful gifts.
Demand was also buoyed by its ongoing marketing campaigns, including a new campaign that is the first campaign to use the De Beers name and the iconic “A Diamond Is Forever” tagline together since the 1990s.
For De Beers’ branded diamond jewelry, consumer demand recovered in 2021, with De Beers Jewelers and De Beers Forevermark both posting double-digit retail growth year-over-year.
The company expanded its retail footprint, opening a new flagship store in London and new stores in China and Qatar.
Looking to the year ahead, De Beers expects the growth in consumer demand for diamonds to continue, driven by the U.S., due to continued economic recovery, higher accumulated savings, and postponed marriages.
“Rough diamond demand is expected to remain steady as the midstream continues to operate with lower stock levels, manufacturing below full capacity but using a faster manufacturing cycle,” said De Beers.
Though factors like COVID-19, geopolitical uncertainty, and cost inflation risks may still be present, midstream sentiment is expected to remain positive, due in part to the expectation of strong U.S. retailer restocking in the first quarter.
“The longer term evolution of the diamond value chain continues, including a sustained focus on inventory balance, the efficient distribution of diamonds throughout the pipeline, increased online purchasing, and a greater focus on the provenance and sustainability credentials of companies and their products,” said De Beers.
Production guidance for 2022 is 30 million to 33 million carats, though the forecast is subject to trading conditions and the possibility of COVID-19 disruptions.
De Beers said the long-term outlook for diamond jewelry demand remains positive.
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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