By Ashley Davis
Antwerp--The Antwerp World Diamond Centre and consulting firm Bain & Company have released their sixth annual global diamond jewelry report.

Examining 2015 and early 2016, the report states that diamond consumption is in a “moderation phase” after growing from 2012 to 2014.

Demand is highest among U.S. consumers, and this was reflected in the improvement of same-store revenues from mainstream jewelry retailers in 2015 like Signet Jewelers Ltd., which owns and operates Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Zales stores.

Worldwide, retail sales of diamond jewelry increased by 3 percent in 2015 at constant exchange rates, but declined by 2 percent in U.S. dollars. This is due in part to Chinese sales; mainland sales were strong but Hong Kong and Macao experienced a decline in tourist spending.

According to the report, rough diamond sales fell 24 percent in 2015 as suppliers reduced output to match decreased customer demand, increased inventory, and cut rough diamond prices.

Profit margins were some of the lowest in recent years as demand slowed and polished diamond prices decreased. This was coupled with high inventory levels, culminating in cutters and polishers unloading approximately $5 billion in inventory to improve liquidity.

After a difficult 2015, midstream operators restocked in the first half of 2016, and rough diamond sales grew by 20 percent.

This isn’t necessarily positive, however, the report notes, as retail demand must now increase to meet the supply.

In the first half of 2016, sales declined at major jewelry retailers--like Signet--indicating the midstream sector likely will be oversaturated.

Remarking on retail’s hottest topic--millennials--the global diamond jewelry report states that the generation totaled 900 million across India, China and the United States in 2015, with a total income of about $8 trillion. The report advised that the jewelry industry invest in appropriate marketing and brand building that is millennial targeted.

Overall, the outlook for the diamond market is good, with supply of rough diamonds expected to stay in sync with demand over the next three years.

The recent decrease in rough demand is expected to reverse, instead growing probably about 2 to 5 percent annually, with rough production expected to dwindle by about 1 to 2 percent through 2030. This should even out the supply-demand relationship, the report states.

A key factor in this, however, is the growth of the Chinese and Indian middle classes.

Threats to the industry include lab-grown diamonds, possible U.S. recessions, and the trend of slowed consumption in China, the report states.

Also, the midstream category of diamond players should “secure access to financing and continue to improve its business model to sustain profitability amid potential price volatility.”

To read the entire 2016 Global Diamond Report, visit

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