By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
New York—As the incomes and purchasing power of millennials and members of Generation Z continue to rise, it’s no wonder businesses want to know what they’re buying and how.

The Natural Diamond Council recently commissioned a survey to do just that—understand the desirability, perceived values, and shopping habits for natural diamond jewelry among those ages 18 to 39 in the United States.

360 Market Reach conducted the survey in October, polling 5,000 millennial- and Gen Z-aged respondents. Together, these two generations make up more than a third of the U.S.’s adult population.

It found that members of the two generations are still interested in jewelry featuring mined diamonds.

The survey asked respondents to choose their preferences among nine luxury items if money were no issue—things like clothing, cosmetics, perfume, watches, vacations and more.

According to the results, diamond jewelry was the most desired tangible luxury item overall; the only item ahead of it across all groups was a vacation.

Both generations indicated they buy natural diamond jewelry as gifts for themselves or others.

One in five respondents had made a luxury jewelry purchase within the last two years, half of which included mined diamonds.


Of those who had purchased in the last two years, half were buying diamond jewelry for themselves, largely driven by the female consumer segment (72 percent).

The category of those buying diamond jewelry as a gift was comprised mostly of men, often purchasing for a significant other.

Women buying for someone else said they had purchased gifts for their mothers, children and, sometimes, their significant other.

The survey also found about half of the natural diamond pieces purchased are earrings and necklaces, the popularity of which could be attributed to the current pandemic and the trend of “Zoom buying,” the Natural Diamond Council said.

Another third of those purchases are rings: engagement rings (10 percent), wedding/anniversary bands (10 percent) and fashion rings (14 percent).

The average price paid for natural diamond jewelry bought in the last two years was about $2,400, with men spending a little more ($3,000) and women a little less ($1,900).

If the survey’s results are any indication, these two generations will keep buying fine jewelry: 37 percent of respondents said they plan to buy it in the next 12 months and 27 percent said they expect to receive it.

Those planning to give fine jewelry as a gift will likely seek more participation from the recipient.

Only 40 percent said they will make the decision on their own, while only 26 percent of those expecting to get a gift of jewelry don’t anticipate being involved.

And purchases on all sides will likely be influenced by social media platforms, where members of both generations often find their inspiration.

Not surprisingly, the analysis of the survey results showed consumers research diamond jewelry before making a purchase, with consumers seeking out four to give retail touch points in average beforehand.

Most of the research was done online—representing 2.6 touch points—and two in-person.

Here’s what they were looking for: 66 percent were comparing prices, 26 percent were looking for social media advice and inspiration, and 24 percent were reading articles for tips.

While most research and browsing might be done online, many of the final purchases happened in stores, with 28 percent completed online and the remaining 72 percent done at a physical location.

The results found more purchases were finalized at independent jewelry stores than at major chains.


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