At a forum in New York City Monday the 28th of October, De Beers executives spelled out their vision for the diamond industry of the future, one that is more responsive to changing societal mores and consumer desires.
The presentation was built around the release of De Beers’ latest Diamond Insight Report, which included new research about how younger consumers view love and marriage.
It had four main findings:
– Younger consumers look at marriage differently than in the past.
“We have found that weddings and engagements are now looked at as part of a journey,” says De Beers head of strategy development Esther Oberbeck. “It is not the start of the relationship. It is just another step in it. In the 1980s, two-thirds of marriages took place within two months of engagement. Today, the average is about 10 to 12 months, and a third take over a year.”
In many cases, the marriage takes place after the couple has already cohabitated or had children together. The report found that cohabitating couples now account for 10% of diamond purchases.
And while consumers remain interested in the marriage tradition, “they are looking to enrich the tradition,” and put their own spin on it, Oberbeck says, including the ring.
“People want edgy, even creative brands,” she says.
– They seek products to be in line with their values.
“Many couples want to make sure they are doing the right thing by the planet and by society,” says Oberbeck. “Just walking around New York, to see how many places talk about sustainable food, it’s a huge change. There is a huge pressure on the fashion industry and all industries to be more transparent, more authentic.”
Oberbeck notes that De Beers has undertaken several programs to help improve the industry’s image and ethics, including its Tracr program, which tracks diamonds through the value chain, and its plan to make its mines carbon-neutral by using the carbon-storing properties of kimberlite.