London, UK—For most consumers, it goes without saying that 2020 has been the strangest year of their lifetimes. It’s already been impacting retail purchase patterns and it is going to affect product design trends as well.
De Beers Group’s fourth Diamond Insight “Flash” Report, published Wednesday, examines how the diamond jewelry design trends for the upcoming holiday and gift season will be influenced by how consumers are feeling. Image: A classic diamond engagement ring.
De Beers Group partnered with leading London-based fashion trends consultancy, Adorn Insight, to review De Beers Group’s consumer research data since the start of the pandemic and overlay it with key fashion trends. The result was three prevailing design themes jewelers can expect to see for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.
The three key trends identified were: craft’s new cool factor, natural beauties, and invest in the best. Thesehighlight that the pandemic is likely to influence consumer design preferences with enhanced appreciation for craftmanship and bespoke design, a greater desire for designs and materials that reference the natural world, and a preference for investing in timeless pieces.
Cool Crafting. The new cool factor of crafting sprang from consumer behavior during lockdown. With both time on their hands and nostalgia for homemade goods playing a role, consumers rapidly turned to activities such as baking bread, embroidery, coloring, puzzles, and more.
Jewelers can capitalize on this trend by underscoring customization—especially for those who can create jewelry as well as sell it. Design-wise, the craft look features everything from rich enamel coloring to imperfections celebrated as beauty.
Gold, enamiel, and diamond earrings by Silvia Furmanovich.
Natural Beauties. The pandemic—along with wildfires and hurricanes--also heightened consumer concern around the environment and climate change. These concerns have been present, but it took a global lockdown to show how reducing activities such as air travel and driving could have such a rapid and measurable positive effect on the world. In many urban areas with heavy traffic, air quality was noticeably improved within weeks, and consumers in suburban areas noted the return of some animals that were long thought to be gone from the area.
In jewelry trends, this is expressed through the use of organic materials like wood, leather, and more in combination with natural gemstones and diamonds. Using diamonds in the state “as nature intended” also plays into this trend, as well as into the crafting trend of beautiful imperfection.
This diamond slice ring by Nina Runsdorf captures both the "Natural Beauties" and "Cool Crafting" trends.
Invest in the best. The third trend amplifies something that’s also been trending: a trend away from disposable and toward items that last. Consumers still wish to indulge themselves, but they’re focusing on buying less but better and investing in items that stand the test of time and represent value that’s not only financial but also emotional and practical. And, like consumers did in 2008 and 2009, the key is understatement, where it’s now considered tasteless to flash wealth while so many others are suffering economic hardship.
And because of course none of these trends exist in a vacuum, this trend also ties into the environmental concerns expressed by the Natural Beauties and Cool Crafting trends, because in every way, buying better, buying to last, and DIY is better for both planet and people than buying cheap and disposable.
A timeless investment in quality doesn't have to mean lack of innovation. This Suzanne Kalan ring is a modern take on the eternity band.
De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said, “As we head into what will be a crucial selling season for many diamond jewelry retailers, understanding key design trends during a time of profound change and uncertainty will be important. The pandemic has accelerated some trends that were already underway, such as the desire for craftmanship, authenticity, and sustainability, while also generating increased consumer interest in the enduring beauty of the natural world and in classic designs that will stand the test of time. Diamond jewelry retailers will no doubt be interested in considering how these trends can feature in their upcoming collections, marketing and merchandising.”
In March 2020, De Beers launched a weekly quantitative survey to collect data on the attitudes, behaviors, and expectations of consumers in the United States, with a monthly deep dive into diamond-specific attitudes. The latest survey, from which these findings were taken, was completed August 23. Key results:
- Consumer confidence in the United States was starting to recover in late August compared with July, when COVID-19 levels were rising sharply in many states.
- In the latest research wave, 65% of Americans said they were now more inclined to give a significant gift to someone they loved, compared with how they felt pre-pandemic. For those in a relationship this increased to 77%.
- 55% of consumers said they had gone out shopping or socializing in the past month, for the first time since the pandemic began.
- There was also a significant increase in women saying they felt safe shopping for diamond jewelry in person and a decrease in those saying they felt safest shopping online.
- Many respondents also are spending more time connecting with friends and family outside the home, giving back through charity and community activities, and taking on new hobbies. The trend is reflected in shopping preferences, with consumers opting for pieces that represent enduring value.
- When it came to the most popular types of diamond jewellery that consumers would be willing to invest in, a diamond ring was the most popular choice at 36% of respondents, followed by a diamond pendant or necklace at 30% and stud earrings at 22%.
Click here to read the full report.