Sunday, June 16, 2024

Natural Diamonds still rule but concerns mount

A large majority of people planning to get married prefer natural diamonds, giving the industry momentum at a time demand for rough diamonds has weakened due to constrained consumer demand in key markets.

Commissioned by De Beers, the pre-bridal survey was conducted by NielsenIQ in May 2023 via multiple social media channels, with a total of 482 participants aged 18-44. Among the participants, 77 percent were female, while 23 percent were male. A majority of them (72 percent) were either engaged or in a serious relationship. The online survey, in its second consecutive year, continues to explore the latest engagement and wedding expectations in Hong Kong.

Among the 482 respondents, 82 percent believe engagement rings are an important part of a wedding, a trend that has remained consistent before and after the pandemic.
Regarding the selection of an engagement ring, 80 percent of the respondents prefer natural diamonds while 86 percent of them would like to be involved in handpicking the right ring. The top considerations during the selection include the conventional 4Cs (colour, clarity, carat and cut). In addition, 39 percent of respondents would prefer diamonds that come with certifications, and 21 percent value the origin of their diamonds.

Among those who opt for natural diamonds, over half of them (51 percent) appreciate natural diamonds are “one-of-a-kind”, while 49% see natural diamonds as “precious, rare and naturally formed through time and nature”.

After two years of strong demand in the diamond industry following the pandemic, the diamond industry finds itself in a downturn, experiencing a huge inventory of polished diamonds as retail sales have fallen. Key markets such as the USA and China have reported lower sales as consumers tighten their wallets. Further complicating matters, prices for polished diamonds have declined.

With the downstream and midstream in a chokehold, the contagion has moved to the upstream, affecting diamond producers as they witness declining sales of rough diamonds. De Beers’ has recorded a 21 percent drop in the first half year rough diamond sales compared to the corresponding period in 2022. Rough diamond prices are also steadily falling, down by 2 percent year on year.

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