While consumer demand for diamond jewellery in China has softened in recent years following the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent macroeconomic challenges, the report highlights the potential for greater demand as the economic outlook improves – with up to 200 million Chinese consumers set to enter the middle class by 2030 and an expected rise in household disposable income of more than a third over the same period – as well as how best to cater to the needs of different Chinese consumer groups.
The report reveals that while desirability for natural diamonds remains strong among Chinese end clients, ranking among the top three most desired luxury purchases, there is a gap between intent to acquire and actual acquisition rates. This gap represents an opportunity for the diamond industry which can be captured by responding to the consumer insights contained in the report.
The report identifies several specific opportunities for the diamond trade in relation to different consumer groups, geographies and retail approaches in China. Key insights include:
- Millennials are the generation that spends disproportionately more than others on diamond jewellery. Younger Millennials prize quality/purity as the most important feature they seek from diamond jewellery, followed by the size and cost of the piece. Design and colour also play a significant role in their decision-making. For older Millennials, design and size take priority, closely followed by purity and price. For both groups, the uniqueness of a piece and the ethical responsibility of the brand are also factors. Retailers should therefore focus on a strong design ethos with top-quality diamonds and competitive pricing, while ensuring they communicate their commitment to ethical practices.
- The share of market value Gen Z represents almost doubled between 2020 and 2022, from five per cent to nine per cent of sales. Gen Z are characterised by greater use of digital media, heightened interest in sustainability considerations, a continuing journey to financial maturity and a propensity to purchase diamonds to mark birthdays. Retailers can maximise the potential of the Gen Z demographic by establishing strong digital touchpoints, showing their alignment to Gen Z values, launching flexible payment options or offering lower-priced entry-level pieces, and offering special birthday promotions or personalised pieces that make for unique birthday gifts.
- Affluent consumers are more likely to buy diamond jewellery to celebrate significant relationship milestones, particularly wedding anniversaries. However, they are selective in their choices, with design playing a pivotal role. One in four of those who did not purchase diamond jewellery in 2022 stated that they couldn’t find a design they liked. This may help explain the gap between the strong desire for diamond jewellery among affluent consumers and their actual acquisition – as such, a greater focus on designs that reflect this group’s preferences can present an area of opportunity.
Further growth opportunities:
- The 55-65 age group:
- The 55-65 age group is an important and growing cohort, contributing approximately nine per cent of the total market value in Tier 1-3 cities. The self-purchase behaviour of the 55-65 age group is particularly noteworthy. This demographic does not shy away from rewarding themselves with diamond jewellery (29 per cent vs 17 per cent for 18-54). In terms of product preference, this group shows a clear inclination towards necklaces and non-bridal rings.
- Tier 4 cities:
- The estimated market value of Tier 4 cities stands represented about 10 per cent of total demand for diamond jewellery in 2022. Diamond jewellery acquisitions in Tier 4 cities are more likely to be non-bridal (85 per cent of pieces) and gifted (88 per cent of pieces), with more than a third of acquisitions (35 per cent) being for wedding anniversaries, compared with a quarter in Tiers 1-3.
Al Cook, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “De Beers Diamond Insight Reports draw on our unique understanding of diamonds, developed over our long history. And there is no country where history has moved as fast as China. From being a relatively small player on the world diamond stage at the end of the last century, China now represents the largest market for diamond jewellery outside the United States. So, our aim for this, our tenth Diamond Insight Report, is to focus on China. We aim to look at its development, to cut through short-term volatility, to understand evolving customer desire for jewellery and to identify opportunities for the future.”
The report also includes the annual diamond value chain dashboard, containing authoritative data on the performance of the diamond industry’s upstream, midstream and downstream segments in 2022.
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About De Beers Group
Established in 1888, De Beers Group is the world’s leading diamond company with expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of diamonds. Together with its joint venture partners, De Beers Group employs more than 20,000 people across the diamond pipeline and is the world’s largest diamond producer by value, with mining operations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. Innovation sits at the heart of the De Beers Group strategy as it develops its portfolio of brands, including De Beers Jewellers and Forevermark, and other pioneering solutions, such as recently launched diamond sourcing and traceability initiatives GemFair and Tracr. De Beers Group employees are committed to ‘Building Forever,’ a holistic and integrated approach for creating a better future – one that is fairer, safer, cleaner and healthier; where safety, human rights and ethical integrity continue to be paramount; and where communities thrive and the environment is protected. De Beers Group is a member of the Anglo American plc group. For further information, visit www.debeersgroup.com.