- Globally, in 2018, the number of Forevermark retail doors rose 9%, with Indonesia, Germany and France joining the list of countries where the brand is present.
- India is an incredibly important market for Forevermark and we are committed to continuing to invest to support our strong growth in the country. We believe that by developing strong partnerships with retailers in tier II and tier III cities, we will be able to further increase Forevermark’s brand awareness and ensure that even more Indian consumers are exposed to the Forevermark promise of diamonds that are beautiful, rare and responsibly-sourced.
The recently appointed CEO of Forevermark Ms. Nancy Liu talks exclusively to G2J about the growth and prospects of the brand. Here are the excerpts:
What goal have you set for India when you took over as the CEO of the Forevermark and how have you planned to achieve it?
Nancy: India is an incredibly important market for Forevermark that holds tremendous potential and we are committed to continuing to invest to support our strong growth in the country. Our aim is to continue to offer consumers confidence and assurance when buying diamonds and to build diamond consumption and penetration to support our continued growth over the long-term.
• Launching in 2011 Forevermark has been building distribution and scale over the past 8 years. Today we believe that by developing strong partnerships with retailers in tier I, tier II and tier III cities, we will be able to further increase Forevermark’s brand awareness and ensure that even more Indian consumers are exposed to the Forevermark promise of diamonds that are beautiful, rare and responsibly-sourced.
• We will continue to innovate and invest in new products, designs and experiences to support the brand’s continued strong growth. We constantly strive to create versatile and relevant designs to appeal to the tastes and values of today’s modern consumer. Our Forevermark collections such as the Forevermark Tribute Collection, Circle of Trust, Capricci, Cornerstone, Encordia, and Millemoi exude subtle elegance with contemporary style.
How was the performance of Forevermark in India during 2018, please assess it in compare with the global market. What is the Forevermark’s market share in India? What is your strategy to increase it?
Nancy: Forevermark continues to perform well, in the country with a consistent growth trajectory that continues to shape the brands strong global performance and meet evolving consumer interests and desires. We are now available in over 240 retail outlets across India and the country is leading the way in terms of our global diamond volumes, accounting for 28% of global Forevermark sales.
• Globally, in 2018, the number of Forevermark retail doors rose 9%, with Indonesia, Germany and France joining the list of countries where the brand is present.
• India is an incredibly important market for Forevermark and we are committed to continuing to invest to support our strong growth in the country. We believe that by developing strong partnerships with retailers in tier II and tier III cities, we will be able to further increase Forevermark’s brand awareness and ensure that even more Indian consumers are exposed to the Forevermark promise of diamonds that are beautiful, rare and responsibly-sourced.
• In addition, we will continue to be innovative in our approach to marketing, with a focus on campaigns that appeal to consumers all over the country. This includes the Forevermark Tribute Collection launched earlier this year, which allows for the consumer to create her own style. The launch of the half carat collection which encourages women to celebrate the better half within themselves.
Growth of the global (natural) diamond industry has reached its saturation level, from where it will grow but with a negligible growth rate. Do you agree with it or not? Why?
Nancy: We believe the Indian consumer market holds enormous growth potential and presents significant opportunities for the diamond industry.
• Meanwhile, the medium to long-term growth prospects for the industry globally are also very strong. The US, the world’s largest and most mature market for many years, has continued to post strong growth in recent years, showing that the American consumer’s love affair with diamonds continues. Meanwhile, the forecasts for the growth in middle class households globally, especially in India and China, represent further strong growth opportunities for the sector.
• We also view female self-purchase as a growth opportunity. The modern world has a greater spending power than ever and with 90% of the wearers of diamond jewellery being woman, this creates excellent opportunities.
• We have also seen from our research that consumers in the millennial generation express just as strong demand for diamonds as previous generations, even though they remain around a decade away from reaching full financial maturity. As such, this age cohort also represents a significant growth opportunity.
• However, we can’t rest on our laurels. We’re experiencing a faster pace of change in the world than ever before and this is having a direct impact on how retailers around the world think about how they sell diamond jewellery. It’s critical that we stay ahead of the demand drivers and consistently tailor our offering and marketing to meet the needs of today’s – and tomorrows – consumers.
• Consumers, and in particular millennials, have distinctive preferences – they tend to be more value-conscious, more concerned with sustainability and ethical production, and often value unique and individual products versus items that are standardised and mass-produced. This represents a major area of opportunity for Forevermark, as our brand is ideally positioned to meet these evolving desires.
What challenges do you assess as far as the growth of Forevermark in India is concerned, especially among growing demand of the LGDs?
Nancy: Consumers see laboratory-grown diamonds as different products from natural diamonds that are suited to different occasions. Consumer demand for laboratory-grown diamonds is very small compared to that of natural diamonds. Laboratory-grown diamonds are created in factories, mass produced in large batches to uniform specifications using industrial reactors or high-pressure presses and are considered as fashion products that should cost significantly less.
• On the other hand, natural diamonds are the world’s hidden treasures. They have enduring value and, indeed, we have seen their value continue to grow over many decades.
• For consumers a natural diamond is an emotional purchase and the level of engagement is far greater than it is for almost any other similar purchase. Women connect far more with the stories, emotions and what the product represents. At Forevermark our diamonds are beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced and we believe that each diamond reflects the qualities of the modern woman. They have come to symbolise life’s most important moments and its most cherished emotions. At Forevermark we take this one step further, each Forevermark diamond undergoes a journey of rigorous selection, going beyond the 4Cs with standards that are far stricter than the industry norm.
• Less than one per cent of the world’s diamonds are eligible to become a Forevermark diamond with only the most beautiful diamonds that meet our exacting standards will be inscribed with the Forevermark icon and unique inscription number.
• Consumers, and especially millennials, are becoming increasingly interested in the provenance of their diamonds – and this is true across all markets. And far from being a challenge, this is actually a significant opportunity for Forevermark. Responsible sourcing is a key element of our brand promise, and we guarantee this through tracing each diamond through the production process, ensuring that strict business, environmental and social standards are met at every step. This means that our brand offers a very strong fit with emerging areas of consumer interest.
• Through this process, and through being part of De Beers Group, we get to see first-hand the enormously positive impact that responsibly sourced diamonds have in the countries where these diamonds are sourced. For example, in a country such as Botswana, diamonds are the main driver of economic development. This means they have played a key role in delivering significantly higher standards of living, access to high quality healthcare and free education, amongst numerous other benefits. Around a third of Botswana’s GDP comes from diamonds and Botswana itself is a 15% shareholder in De Beers Group. Meanwhile, we also have 50/50 joint ventures for activities such as mining and sorting, so the country sees a huge amount of direct economic and social benefit from its diamond sector.
Interview by Suresh Chotai