As consumers in the US reassess their purchasing behaviour in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, gifts that are meaningful and that retain their value will be the priority as people emerge from lockdown, according to new research undertaken over the past nine weeks by De Beers Group.
The research demonstrated that lockdown had made many consumers feel grateful for things they used to take for granted, such as spending time with family, and that this would influence their purchasing and gifting behaviour in future.
De Beers Group chief executive officer, Bruce Cleaver said COVID-19 crisis and associated lockdowns have caused people all around the world to re-evaluate aspects of what’s important in their lives and have reinforced the value of personal relationships.
“While consumer confidence and spending has been significantly impacted in the US, this research highlights that diamonds will nonetheless have a unique role to play in people’s lives in a post-lockdown world as they seek to celebrate their most meaningful relationships,” Cleaver said.
“While it will take some time for the market to recover fully, we hope these insights will assist large and independent jewellery retailers alike to understand the evolving consumer perspective as we move through and emerge from the crisis.”
When it came to gifting and in particular looking forward to the holiday season, 56 per cent of respondents felt gifts should be meaningful, over and above being practical, functional or fun. Diamonds were seen as the top gift for symbolising intimacy, connectedness and love among both men and women, with the primary desire for purchasing being a reflection of gratitude and acknowledgement during the current crisis.
Ninety percent of respondents said that choosing gifts that hold their value over time would be an important consideration this holiday season, and more people chose diamonds as the top choice for a gift of this nature from a list of luxury items including designer clothing and accessories, electronic devices, a piece of furniture, or other jewellery.
The findings are the first in a series of Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Reports that De Beers Group will publish to share insights regarding the evolving consumer perspective and what it means for diamonds as the world passes through the stages of the COVID-19 crisis.
Other findings from the first report published today include:
1. Around two-thirds of the consumers polled indicated their personal finances have not been affected by COVID-19. Three-quarters of consumers said that COVID-19 had not impacted their likelihood to purchase diamond jewellery and the majority of respondents continued to wear their diamond jewellery during lockdown because it made them ‘feel connected to someone’.
2. Consumers felt safest shopping for jewellery online; however, they clearly distinguished local independent jewellers as the best source for knowledge and product quality, as well as being considered the safest of all the physical outlets for jewellery shopping.
3. Forty-five per cent of respondents said that they would seek to buy fewer, better things when considering clothing and jewellery purchases after the lockdown.
4. Consumer preference for travel continues to show a declining trend, with 39 per cent of consumers saying it will be seven to 12 months before their travel spending stabilises.