One-Third of Americans Want to Spend Less Than $1,000 on Engagement Ring

Younger buyers say money’s no object, but older consumers more cautious, survey says

Thirty-six percent of U.S. consumers believe that an engagement ring should cost less than $1,000, according to a poll commissioned by personal finance website GOBankingRates.com.

Obviously, this is less than most consumers actually spend. The Knot found that the average engagement ring costs $5,855. The Wedding Report put the number at $3,361.

“I think there are a lot of things going on here,” says Cameron Huddleston, GOBankingRates.com’s life and money columnist. “A lot of people don’t know how much an engagement ring costs. You don’t go shopping for engagement rings every day. People go and buy a gallon of milk all the time, they know how much it costs.”

The poll of 5,000 adults, conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, also found that:

– Both men and women equally favor low-cost engagement rings.

– Older adults believe less should be spent on engagement rings.

“It could be because they are out of the market,” says Huddleston. “Or it could be they know how expensive buying that first home or starting a family can be.”

– Younger adults expect their rings to cost more.

About half of younger millennials (18–24) and older millennials (25–34) want to spend less than $3,000 on an engagement ring, the survey found. However, they were also more likely to say “money is no object” when buying a ring.

“There seems to be a split personality with the millennials,” Huddleston says. “They really want to stick to a budget, but they are also idealistic and think, ‘I’m going to give my sweetheart whatever ring she wants, money is no object.’ Or perhaps they think, ‘I’m going to get the right ring for the person I want to marry.’” 

The statement noted that consumers no longer feel compelled to follow the industry-created “two month salary guideline”—which has been advertised little in the last decade.

“I was surprised by how few people referenced it,” Huddleston says. “I’m a Gen-Xer so it’s something that people in my generation know. Maybe it’s a little less familiar to 25- to 34-year-olds.”

More data from the poll can be seen here.

How Much Should an Engagement Ring Cost?

Less than $1,000: 36 percent

$1,000 to $2,999: 19 percent

$3,000 to $4,999: 11 percent

$5,000 to $9,999: 7 percent

$10,000 or more: 4 percent

2 months’ salary: 6 percent

Money no object: 17 percent

Source: GOBankingRates.com

JCK News Director