The worldwide demand for diamond jewellery set a new record high of $82-billion in 2017, diamond giant De Beers reported in its 'Diamond Insight Report 2018'. The driving forces behind this demand were Millennial and Generation Z (Gen Z) consumers, who, together, accounted for 66% of global diamond sales last year.
Millennials means people who are currently in the age range from 21 to 39, when Gen Z covers those who are currently ages 20 years or younger. Millennials represent 29% of the world’s population but, in 2017, were responsible for 60% of diamond jewellery demand in the US and almost 80% in China.
Gen Z account for 35% of global population, but while most of them are children and in no position to buy jewellery, the oldest members of this group (18 to 20 year olds) are beginning to make an impact on the market. Gen Z consumers bought 5% of all diamond jewellery sold in the US last year.
“The younger generations present wide-ranging opportunities for the diamond industry with the significant size and purchasing power of today’s Millennials and tomorrow’s Gen Z consumers,” pointed out De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “While both of these desire diamonds just as much as the generations that have come before them, there are undoubtedly new dynamics at play: those diamonds may now be in different product designs, used to symbolise new expressions of love and researched and purchased in different ways to mark different moments in life.”
While the two generations have similarities, they also have their differences. Major similarities are that they are both “digital natives” (in the words of the report), concerned about social issues, seeking authenticity, and wishing to express themselves. Major differences are that Millennials are generally more mistrustful, “requiring brands to earn their trust before they can pursue growth”, whereas Gen Z “tend to be more individualistic and optimistic, desiring products that help build their own personal brands.” This combination of factors creates three significant opportunities, the report stated.
First, “[m]eeting Millennial and Gen Z needs for love and commitment on their own terms. … Diamond brands and retailers must therefore complement traditional designs with more niche, customisable offerings to reflect the broader interpretation of love and commitment from young consumers.”
Second, to tailor commercial communications, messaging and media to fit the preferences and behaviour of both these young generations. For both, online and social media research is very important, before making a purchase. But they favour different social media channels – Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for the Millennials, as against Instagram and Snapchat for Gen Z.
Third, company and brand activities and corporate social responsibility activities should be aligned with the priorities of the two generations. Gen Z do not want to be told what a company or brand does in terms of social responsibility, they want to be shown what it does – they want a business to be able to back up its claims of ethical behaviour.