Retail sales of diamond jewelry rose 29 percent last year and 11 percent above 2019, a new report found
PARIS — Retail sales of diamond jewelry rose 29 percent last year and 11 percent above 2019, confirming a “spectacular rebound” for the diamond industry, according to a new report.
A joint effort between Bain & Co. and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the annual report found that revenues in the diamond mining segment bounded 62 percent in 2021, a gain of 13 percent over 2019, while the cutting and polishing segment grew 55 percent last year, or 16 percent above pre-pandemic levels.
Diamond jewelry sales had dropped 14 percent in 2020 amid store closures, wedding cancellations and travel restrictions in the wake of coronavirus outbreaks.
“Throughout the value chain, the industry experienced a recovery and boom at an unexpected speed, which has taken insiders by surprise,” commented Olya Linde, a partner in Bain’s energy and natural resources practice and an author of the report.
It credited an “urge for emotional gifting, increased savings and expansion of stores into additional cities” for the boost in diamond jewelry purchases in 2021, kicking off with Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day and gaining momentum in the second half and the holiday season.
Bain and the AWDC expect that demand for diamond jewelry and rough diamonds will continue to grow through the first half of 2022.
“The market anticipates a strong holiday season — strengthening consumer confidence in major markets — and limited supply of rough diamonds,” they said. “In the medium term, demand for diamonds could be affected by government policies surrounding economic stimulus and travel restrictions, including lockdowns due to the ongoing epidemic situation. Notwithstanding, in 2022 the market is expected to demonstrate growth higher than the pre-pandemic period and return to historic growth pace by 2023–24.”
The U.S. recorded the highest levels of growth in diamond jewelry sales last year, up 38 percent over 2020 and 23 percent versus 2019. The report credited economic stimulus packages, rising employment figures, a stock market surge and high levels of vaccination, which boosted consumer confidence.
Ninety percent of jewelry retailers are now equipped to do e-commerce and the digital share of market reached 23 percent in 2020, it noted.
Digital sales also underpinned the 19 percent increase in diamond jewelry sales in China in 2021 as retailers joined online marketplaces and promoted jewelry on social networks. “Livestreamed sales on social networks, such as Weibo and TikTok, supported growth; jewelry accounted for 20 percent of livestream sales revenues,” the report noted.
Europe, meanwhile, registered only a partial recovery, with diamond jewelry sales still 5 percent below pre-pandemic levels last year.
Expanded assortments to address consumers’ growing interested in sustainable jewelry also boosted the fortunes of diamond jewelry retailers, according to the report, flagging various experiments with recycled and pre-owned jewelry and noting that “lab-grown diamonds continued to diverge into a separate, more affordable jewelry category.”
It mentioned Tiffany & Co.’s new product line made from recycled gold, and a Signet collection hinged on reclaimed gold and repurposed diamonds.
“The promotion of diamonds also increased a notch,” the report noted, mentioning Tiffany’s mega campaign starring Beyoncé, Jay-Z and the 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond to star in its About Love campaign, as well as the diamond jewelry prominently featured in the movie “House of Gucci.”