By Michelle Graff
This diamond engagement ring from Sylvie Collection embodies many of the characteristics that were most popular among consumers who took The Knot’s 2017 engagement study: made in 18-karat white gold with a 1-carat round diamond and 0.27 carats of pave melee. It retails for $1,690 (not including center stone).
New York--The Knot’s biennial survey on marriage proposals shows that the average engagement ring spend has increased 25 percent since 2011.

According to the wedding planning website’s 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study, which surveyed 14,000 engaged or recently married U.S. brides and grooms, the average amount spent on an engagement ring is now $6,351.

That is up 25 percent from $5,095 in 2011, and is a 6 percent increase from $5,978 in 2015, the last time The Knot conducted this particular survey.

The $6,351 figure is also a couple hundred dollars above the average of $6,163 shared in The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed 13,000 couples who got married last year. The results of that survey came out in early 2017.

The Knot does its Jewelry & Engagement Study every other year and releases the results at the end of the year--when the greatest percentage of couples get engaged.

Below are six more points from the 2017 edition of the study, which came out Nov. 9.

1. Those $6,000+ rings are most often set with …
The most popular stone shape for engagement rings was, not shockingly, still round at 52 percent, while the average carat size for the center stone was 1.2 carats. Counting side diamonds and melee, the average total carat weight increases to 1.8.

The most popular setting metal was white gold, cited by 61 percent of respondents.

2. Consumers today do value shopping locally.
A total of 86 percent of respondents said they bought their engagement ring at a brick-and-mortar retailer and, among those, nearly half (45 percent) said they went to a local or independent jeweler.

While this is good news for the smaller brick-and-mortar players, The Knot’s survey also showed that the number of men buying engagement rings online is inching up.

The 14 percent of survey-takers who said they bought their engagement ring online is up from 10 percent in 2011.

Better pricing was the main reason for an online engagement ring purchase, cited by 63 percent of survey takers. That was followed by finding the perfect ring while browsing (45 percent), convenience (40 percent) and wanting to build a custom ring (29 percent).

3. They love custom.
Nearly half of survey takers had the engagement ring they bought for their fiancée personalized in some way, whether it was a total custom job (18 percent) or just touches of custom design (27 percent).

SEE: Unusual Engagement Rings from Amanda’s Style File

4. One-third of couples pick the ring together.
A total of 33 percent of survey takers said they shopped together for their engagement ring.

Among both couples shopping together and men doing it solo, the average time spent finding the ring was 3.5 months (up slightly from 3.3 months in 2011) and average number of rings looked at before purchase was 26.

The majority of prospective grooms (72 percent) said they had some concerns during the purchasing process, chief among them not knowing if they were getting a good deal (35 percent) and not having a solid understanding of diamond terminology (28 percent).

5. Tradition has made a comeback.
A total of 9 in 10 grooms-to-be said they proposed with the engagement ring in hand and used the words “Will you marry me?” That’s up from 85 percent and 86 percent in 2011, respectively.

There was also a lot of popping the question on bended knee (cue Boyz II Men), with those totaling 87 percent of all proposals, up from 77 percent in 2011. And grooms more frequently asked for permission from their partner’s family (78 percent) than in years past.

6. Proposals are becoming more public, and they’re being taped.
In the 2017 survey, a total of 45 percent of all proposals took place in a public location, like a garden, park or zoo, up from 34 percent in 2011.

Couples also want record of the proposal (mostly likely to share on social media), with 47 percent of respondents reporting they hired a photographer or videographer to capture the moment.

Want to read insights from independent jewelers on the engagement ring trends they are seeing in their stores?

Check out National Jeweler’s 50 Jewelers/50 States series.

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