Chinese consumers go for diamond jewelryAugust 09, 19
Shifting relationship dynamics, changing perceptions of femininity and the fast adoption of e-commerce channels are paving the way for increased diamond jewelry consumption in China, according to Mabel Wong McCormick, managing director of Diamond Producers Association (DPA) in China. "Expanded symbolism for diamond jewelry indicating a wider range of 'moments' in life will give rise to more discretionary purchases especially among the country's Generation Z, or those born after 1995," she said.
"Diamonds are increasingly being bought to celebrate occasions such as landing a new job, securing a promotion or other personal achievements in a broader sense," McCormick told China Daily in an interview.
Last year, a survey conducted by the DPA on consumers in Beijing and Shanghai revealed that people's perceptions toward love have seen a departure from traditionally held beliefs like 'eternity and everlasting.' While the younger generation still uphold love, they are increasingly embracing the idea to 'seize the moment' and feel comfortable spending on iconic items like diamonds for more instant gratifications and self-motivation.
These finding sync with a study done by De Beers in 2018, which indicated that Chinese millennials and Generation Z had purchased almost 80 percent of all the diamond jewelry in China in 2017, compared to 60 percent in the United States.
While the giving of diamond jewelry as a token of love and commitment continues to constitute the majority of purchases, "it's encouraging to see these additional sources of demand emerge," De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver commented.
"Apart from marriage - the traditional occasion for diamond gift-giving, a new perception of personal meaningfulness is emerging that is closely associated to joy, confidence and pride in themselves, especially among women. These would lead to greater interest in purchases that can reflect these characteristics," McCormick added.
McCormick said China "is well ahead of the world", as Chinese consumers are looking at tangible qualities rather than the brand per se when placing jewelry orders. "That's really a game changer. With Chinese consumers becoming more pragmatic, it's easy to understand how they are getting more demanding on quality," she said.
Chinese consumers often go online to look for information on multiple dimensions of the stones before trying on multiple times in physical stores. "China's advanced seamless online-to-offline scenarios would allow consumers to still place orders through digital means if certain types remain exclusive via internet channels," she noted.
De Beers said that in 2017, China's diamond jewelry retail sales accounted for 16 percent of the $82 billion global market, up from almost none some two decades ago.