The overall U.S. retail diamond jewelry market declined 1% in 2001, to $26.1 billion, according to statistics from J. Walter Thompson, the marketing agency for the Diamond Trading Company, a division of De Beers.
This marked the first time in more than a decade that the diamond jewelry market experienced a drop in value.
However, Richard Lennon, director of the diamond group of J. Walter Thompson, said the surprisingly small dip showed “incredible resilience in this year full of turmoil.
“The desire to express love and commitment through diamonds remained strong,” he says. “Personal occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and engagements, kept this market solid.”
Business was particularly strong at Christmas, Thompson said, when sales grew 4% in value and 7% in pieces sold.
The overall decline mostly stemmed from thriftier consumers. While sales of actual pieces increased 2%, the average ticket price declined 3%.
The research also found:
Some 78% of brides still receive engagement rings, equaling the number for 2000.
The three-stone jewelry category, which Thompson has been promoting, rose 34% in volume.
Three-stone diamond rings now capture one out of every 10 diamond-only ring purchases.
Lennox notes that in 1991, the U.S. diamond jewelry market was $13.8 billion, which means it nearly doubled in the last decade.