Crystal Gemstone Market Overview
The luxury crystal gemstone shopper is likely to be a married millennial woman with a bachelor's or higher degree and a household income of $75,000+. She is socially conscious, seeks meaning and authenticity, and purchases gemstone jewelry to celebrate personal milestones or as an investment. The luxury crystal gemstone is an expression of her individuality and independence.
- Millennials are the "core" demographic for luxury items. They account for 59% of all diamond-- the most popular luxury gemstone that accounts for 94% of the US gemstone market--jewelry purchases by women aged 18-74 yrs in the US.
- Bridal jewelry accounts for over a quarter of diamond sales. Self-purchase (buying for oneself) of diamond jewelry, accounting for a third of sales in the US, is on the rise among young women. The share of sales to single women has also grown.
- One in ten Gen Z women and one in five older millennials have gifted a diamond to someone else, typically their mothers, or else their grandmothers, daughters, and female friends.
- Women aged 18-20 account for 5% of the diamond jewelry market in the US. "Cohabiting women now receive 10% of the value of the female diamond jewelry market."
- As women are self-empowering and becoming increasingly independent, they are not waiting for men to gift them jewelry; a third of the diamond jewelry is self-purchased.
- While "diamond love gifting" accounts for over half (52%) of all diamond purchases--roughly half of the purchases are related to engagements and weddings--"women are increasingly having more say in the choice of diamond jewelry they will wear and are increasingly contributing towards its cost, even when it’s a gift to them".
- Research by DeBeers suggests that "more and more women are paying for their own wedding or engagement jewelry in the US and are spending significantly more on average than their partners spend."
- The consumer segments of the US female diamond jewelry market by marital status: married (53%); engaged (3%); cohabiter, will marry (5%); cohabiter, will not marry (10%); and single (29%).
- The breakup of the US female diamond jewelry market by the value of diamond sold: married (70%); engaged (9%); cohabiter, will marry (4%); cohabiter, will not marry (6%); and single (11%).
- The married woman consumer segment of the US diamond jewelry market has an average household income of $96,700; the cohabiter, will marry segment has an average household income of $63,700; and the cohabiter, will not marry segment has an average household income of $60,000.
- Given the aforementioned statistic and the fact that married consumers account for 70% by value of the diamonds sold, and considering that the individuals participating in luxury jewelry consumers surveys earn over $75,000, the typical household income range of a luxury crystal gemstone consumer is estimated to be $75,000+.
- The median weekly salary of an individual with a bachelor's degree is $1,173. Therefore, the annual median earnings of a bachelor's degree holder is $60,996 (52*$1,173).
- As the married segment accounts for 70% of the women's diamond jewelry market, and the average household income of the segment is $96,700, the education level of the diamond consumer is likely to be bachelor's level or higher (assuming two earning members in a household).
- Women are purchasing diamond jewelry for themselves to celebrate personal milestones, an expression of their own selves, and as an investment. Luxury bespoke diamond jewelry is a "sophisticated expression" of their "style, taste, and individuality".
- Women over 45 are self-purchasing jewelry "just because" they want to, for no particular reason or occasion; for them, it is a "declaration of power and independence."
- Twenty percent of older millennial women and 10% of Gen Z women have gifted diamonds to their mother, grandmother, daughter, or close friends. "Mother’s Day and Christmas/Chanukah is the main occasions in the US when women buy diamonds as gifts."
- The most common "partner gifting occasions" of diamond jewelry within marriage are Christmas (28%), birthdays (19%), wedding (18%), wedding anniversary (14%), and Valentine's Day (6%).
- The millennial generation, the key demographic of the gemstone industry, is idealistic, "me" generation, and expectant. "Younger couples seek out brands that reflect their own values and help them express their own personalities."
- Millennials and Gen Zs are "socially conscious and value quality and integrity"; they seek ethically sourced or man-made gemstones and demand proof of the same. "For example, the Sarine Diamond Journey report provides full, verifiable traceability of a diamond’s origins, from the mine to the jewelry store, so Gen Zers can be assured of the ethical source of the diamond."
- Sixty-two percent of affluent millennial women are willing to pay a premium for a socially responsible luxury brand.
- More and more couples among the younger generations are living together without marriage. They seek "different styles and types of jewelry (not necessarily diamond rings) that commemorate a lifetime of love, the unique individuality of the couple, and their self-expression."
Purchasing Habits and Journey
- "Buyers of diamonds now engage more actively across a range of channels when they are researching their intended purchase or seeking inspiration — and this applies to all age groups. Over half of consumers in the US say they would definitely look online to browse designs of diamond jewelry".
- "One-third (34%) of new diamond acquisitions are researched online. For each piece, consumers typically visit the internet three times, starting nine months before purchase." Omnichannel purchasing has resulted in an increase in the average price of diamond jewelry purchased online. "Young consumers are looking for a full range of services, from inventory checking and setting up appointments, to purchasing and returns to be seamlessly available and interchangeable online and offline."
- The breakup of diamond jewelry purchased by brand: "International luxury DJ brand" (22%), "international designer brand" (19%), other brands (26%), and unbranded (31%).
- "The combination of changing perceptions of marriage, dedication to living an ethical life bound by values, and shifting priorities in spending has made the adage of an “engagement ring costs one month’s salary” obsolete. For Millennials and Gen Z, the value of a purchase lies in its meaning and authenticity to self, not in the dollar value."
- "Six in 10 affluent Millennials read user-generated product reviews when shopping for luxury goods, 55% have learned about a product in a store, but preferred to purchase it online, and 18% recommend luxury brand purchases through social network sites, reports the Luxury Institute.
- JTV, Kay, Zales, and JomaShop are the top jewelry and luxury product websites in the US. As over half of diamond jewelry consumers search for jewelry designs online, we used SimilarWeb, a web analytics platform, to understand the website visitor audience interests. The top interests of visitors to the top jewelry websites are jewelry, fashion, shopping, clothing, news, and finance.
Personality and Lifestyle
- Millennials are an experiential generation that values convenience and dining out and spends time on armchair activism. They are active on social media and share posts as an expression of their individual identities.
- Affluent millennials are future-oriented, disciplined, and have big goals. They are three times more likely than an average millennial to have entrepreneurial aspirations and are also three times more likely to want to establish a charitable foundation.
- Affluent millennials are also more open to trying financial products or making investments via brands that are not from the financial industry.
- As information specific to luxury gemstone consumers was unavailable, we expanded the scope to the key consumer segment of well-to-do millennials.
We searched research reports, gemstone industry marketing personnel interviews, advertising case studies, and industry associations such as the American Gem Trade Association and American Gem Society; however, we did not find any data specific to the luxury crystal gemstone industry as a whole--most reports we found focused on the diamond industry. As diamonds (luxury crystal gemstone) account for 94% of the US gemstone market, we used the diamond market data as a proxy for the luxury crystal gemstones market. The demographics are not likely to differ greatly for the ruby, sapphire, or other non-diamond luxury gem consumers. The key difference between diamonds and other luxury crystal gemstones is that diamonds are traditionally an "enduring symbol of love"; however, demographic variables such as age (typical of the luxury segment), gender (typical of the jewelry segment), income (typical of the luxury segment), education (correlated to income) are unlikely to differ even for non-diamond luxury gemstones. Also, other luxury gemstones are still relevant to love and marriage, as gemstones such as sapphire (fidelity) and emerald (wisdom and hope) are the most popular bridal jewelry gemstones after diamonds (eternal love).