JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Global demand for diamond jewellery grew 3% to a record $81-billion in 2014, De Beers said on Friday, while pointing out a slower last-quarter pace of growth across the luxury goods category in both the US and China, the biggest and second–biggest diamond-jewellery markets respectively.
De Beers diamond industry insight data, which was released at midnight, shows that the top five diamond markets – which make up 75% of total sales – all grew in currency terms and that the momentum should continue through 2015 (Also see Creamer Media TV video attached).
“It was another strong year for diamond jewellery demand across the world, as we saw continued growth across both mature and quickly developing markets,” De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier commented in a media release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.
The US, as the world's largest market, last year represented 46% of total diamond jewellery sales, after leaping 7% higher to $37-billion, with China at a 5%-higher $10-billion in second spot.
Including Hong Kong and Macau, the Chinese market now represents 14% of the total value of the global diamond jewellery market.
The Indian market, which now represents 4% of the value of the global diamond jewellery market and 8% of the polished diamonds consumed, grew 3% in local currency terms, with stronger second-half sales making up for lower first-half consumer confidence.
Although depreciation of the rupee against the dollar meant that the Indian market saw a 1% dollar decrease to $3.6-billion, holiday-season sales growth accelerated in India, where expectations going into 2015 are for continued strengthening of growth rates.
De Beers said that the fourth quarter of the year saw a slower pace of growth across the luxury goods category in both China and the US, the latter country trending towards less Christmas gift shopping immediately before Christmas, driven by early retail promotional activity.
Simultaneously, Chinese growth was lowered by the country’s softer macroeconomic environment and the protest activity in Hong Kong.
De Beers described the outlook for diamond jewellery sales growth in 2015 as positive across all main markets and anticipates another year of growing consumer demand.
The diamond mining and marketing company said that optimism among jewellery retailers was highest in the US and India, while growth in China was expected to pick up after the Chinese New Year.
Mellier said that against the background of the number of middle-class households in the major consumer markets being set to grow by hundreds of millions in the years ahead, the prospects for the diamond industry were also exceptionally strong provided investments continued to be made across the diamond value chain. (Report on interview with De Beers Director of Strategy Bruce Cleaver to follow later today).