Diamond sales have added the sparkle to the profits of gemstone trader De Beers as the business soared to a record turnover.
Single women in their 30s – millennials born between 1980 and 2000 – are driving the boom in sales in America, the world’s largest diamond market.
Although traditional diamond jewellery sales for weddings and other life events are holding up, millennial women are buying diamonds as personal investments.
The spending spree has pushed sales in America to record levels, says the company.
America already accounted for 50% of the world’s diamond sales, and this slice of the market is set to increase if the trend continues.
Record for diamond sales
“American consumers continue to express strong desire for diamonds, but their purchasing habits are changing rapidly,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver.
“While bridal diamond jewelry remains fundamental, we are seeing both single and married women buying for themselves more frequently and more purchases being made online. Meanwhile, products such as multi-diamond jewelry are becoming more popular.”
Although engagement and bridal jewellery has a 28% share of the US market, gifting for married women takes a significant 37% slice as well.
Meanwhile single millennial women buying for themselves has jumped a fifth in recent years and is expected to keep growing.
Diamonds worth $41 billion changed hands in America last year – a rise of 4.4% on the year before and the first time the $40 billion ceiling had been breached.
Chinese snap up luxury goods
Consultants Bain & Company reckon sales should be up between 2% and 4% this year to $292 billion worldwide as economies in Europe and China continue to expand.
Millennials will account for around 45% of luxury sales, said the firm.
Bain partner Federica Levato said: “It’s a healthier growth than before. So we have revised our market forecast for this year. Some players who are doing well are really outperforming.”
“Beyond personal luxury goods, Chinese consumers increased their spending in categories such as luxury cars, fine food, luxury hospitality and designer furniture, while holding steady in fine art, private jets, yachts and luxury cruises,”