With all of the talk circulating in the diamond community about millennials, you’d think that an entire generation has stopped buying one of the most significant items in our culture. Even with the emergence of synthetic diamonds and alternative ring options, the eye test can provide a pretty strong indication of what is going on.
Millennials are still buying diamonds, and it’s not going to stop any time soon.
The reality is that the majority of young people are still pursuing natural diamonds as their stone of choice in an engagement ring. The emergence of the internet during the time that millennials have grown up has made it easier for them to become educated buyers than ever before, and they are using that knowledge to look for the best value possible.
According to the annual De Beers Diamond Insight Report, millennials are actually the largest segment purchasing diamonds with over $26 billion spent in 2015. They also made up 45% of retail sales across the four most important markets of China, U.S, India, and Japan. Those figures are actually up drastically from the $10 billion spent by Generation X back in 1999.
With the oldest millennials topping out at 35 years old, this leaves a vast amount of room for growth in the diamond industry as the generation continues to age and command higher earning potential.
So why the doomsday talk about millennials and diamonds?
The bigger issue isn’t really with how many diamonds they are buying, but with how long they are waiting to do it. Because of financial obligations like student loans and a shift in our culture, millennials are waiting a long time to get married. As of 2014, only 26 percent of millennials aged 18-36 are married, as opposed to 36% of Gen Xers and 48% of Baby Boomers at a similar age.
There’s also a lot of clever marketing going on in the sustainable diamond world as they play on the millennial trend of valuing perceived “eco-friendly” options, but that doesn’t mean that synthetics or alternative stones will become the norm any time soon.
And then there is the issue of transparency. Millennials are notoriously non-trusting of large corporations, mostly stemming from the great recession that was a hallmark of their early perceptions of the U.S. economy. That mistrust translates directly to the diamond sales process. Just because a millennial is told that a diamond is great, doesn’t mean they will believe it without seeing the proof. We believe that larger jewelry retailers and mall stores will struggle with this in the coming years.
That is one of the reasons that Jonathan’s maintains as much transparency in the diamond buying process as possible. We make it a point to let our customers hold and inspect the diamonds while we walk them through every aspect of a GIA report. Millennials are already informed buyers, so why not confirm the information that they already know?
It all boils down to this: diamonds aren’t going away any time soon, and the largest generation on the planet will continue to buy them moving forward.
Are you interested in creating your engagement ring with a loose diamond from our inventory? Contact Sergio@jfjco.com to schedule an appointment and find the perfect diamond today.
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