In the First Half of 2018, Consumers Searched For …

EditorsSep 04, 2018

In the First Half of 2018, Consumers Searched For …

Cushion-cut diamonds, for one, Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff reports after digesting the latest data from GemFind.

This diamond engagement ring from Picchiotti features a center stone that is popular in terms of shape (cushion cut, searched for by 11 percent of consumers); color (F, searched for by 14 percent of consumers); clarity (VS2, searched for by 19 percent of consumers); and size. The center stone is 5.26 carats; diamonds above 3 carats accounted for 11 percent of searches in the first six months of the year, ranking third behind 3/4-carat and 1-carat diamonds.

In April, I relayed the results of GemFind’s first annual report aggregating data from the jewelers’ websites that the company manages; the report told us what diamonds consumers were clicking on the most—though not necessarily buying—when browsing jewelry online.

GemFind President and CEO Alex Fetanat told me at the time that his technology company, which he founded in 1999, wanted to make a habit out of publishing these reports, providing the industry with consumer data regularly.

A few weeks ago, he reached out to share results from the semi-annual report for 2018, detailing clicks for the first six months of the year (Jan. 1 through June 30).

Below, I share five of the most interesting points from the report; the entire analysis can be viewed on the GemFind website.

1. The overall profile of the diamond most searched for by consumers didn’t change from 2017, which is not surprising.
According to GemFind, consumers looked for a 1-carat, round, G color diamond with VS2 clarity and a Gemological Institute of America grading report, which is pretty much the same diamond most consumers were looking for last year.

New for the semi-annual report, however, was the inclusion of consumer preference for cut grade, with excellent coming in first (65 percent) of searches for diamonds bigger than 0.25 carats, followed by very good at 19 percent and good at 9 percent.

2. After G, the most searched for diamond color was …
H at 15 percent, followed closely by F (14 percent) and I (13 percent). All told, 59 percent of diamond searches were for stones between F and I in color.

The two highest diamond color grades, D and E, were clicked on by 8 and 11 percent of consumers, respectively.

Fetanat said he was surprised to see I-color diamonds finishing ahead of both D and E but noted that, “I is definitely not the greatest color, but it’s more affordable.”

3. After VS2, the most searched for diamond clarity was …
SI1 and VS1 were tied as the second most searched for clarities, garnering 18 percent of searches in the first six months of the year, followed by SI2 at 15 percent, VVS2 at 10 percent and VVS1 at 8 percent.

Very few consumers were looking for diamonds that were internally flawless—IF diamonds accounted for 4 percent of searches—or at the other end of the clarity spectrum. Only

8 percent of consumers looked for I1 diamonds and 1 percent for I2 diamonds.

What this data tells Fetanat: For the most part, consumers are looking for eye-clean diamonds, meaning they don’t want a stone with visible flaws, but they don’t feel the need to pay money for a flawless diamond either.

In her latest Style File, Jewelers of America’s Amanda Gizzi reported on the growing popularity of marquise, pear, trillion and shield shapes in jewelry design. Online, however, consumers are still clicking on more round diamonds than anything else, with pear-shaped diamonds only accounting for 3 percent of searches and marquise, 2 percent.

4. There was a bit of a shift in shape searches.
As noted above, the most searched for diamond shape was round, with the classic cut accounting for nearly 50 percent of searches in the first six months of 2018.

In second place, however, was not the princess cut or even the oval, which leapfrogged the princess to become the second most searched for cut shape of 2017.

It was the cushion, accounting for 11 percent of searches, followed closely by oval at 10 percent and the princess at 9 percent. Together with round diamonds, these three shapes accounted for more than three-quarters of all cut shape searches in the first six months of the year.

Other searched for shapes were: Asscher (7 percent), emerald (5 percent), radiant (4 percent), pear (3 percent) and marquise (2 percent).

5. There is solid interest in diamonds larger than 3 carats.
In the first six months of 2018, 46 percent of diamond searches were for 1-carat (25 percent), 3/4-carat (12 percent) and 1 1/2-carat diamonds (9 percent), none of which is surprising. Most consumers go for a diamond that is 1 carat exactly, or just under or above the 1-carat mark.

However, the third most searched for size (after 1 carat and 3/4 carat) was 3 carats and above, searched for by 11 percent of consumers.

Fetanat noted a couple of plausible reasons for the percentage of large diamond searches, including an improving economy and consumers searching not for engagement diamonds but for stones to mark milestone anniversaries, such as 10 or 20 years.

I also threw out a possibility with which Fetanat agreed—some consumers could be searching for larger diamonds simply out of curiosity. They want to see how much it would cost to buy a 4-carat diamond, or see what a 5-carat stone would look like on their finger, much in the same way one might look to see what $5,000 a month in rent will get you in Brooklyn (answer: not as much as you might think).

Jewelers, what do you think of the results of GemFind’s 2018 semi-annual survey? Do they match what you see consumers inquiring about and buying in your stores?
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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