Millennials Still Buying Diamonds: Bruce Cleaver

Bruce Cleaver

Gaborone: De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver says in an interview that millennials, the under-35 age group, are still purchasing diamond jewellery, albeit smaller pieces since they are typically less affluent than their parents were at the same age.

Cleaver told The Associated Press that millennial diamond buyers are not as traditional as their parents. “We find that they self-purchase more than their parents did and that’s quite an interesting opportunity because there was a time when pretty much all diamond purchases were men buying for women. We also find that purchase decisions are much more joint decisions when they’re a couple.”

Asked if the company was changing its advertising strategy to reach them, Cleaver replied that while in the past diamond advertising showed a man buying for a woman, some of its adverts are being tailored to show a more modern couple where the purchasing decision is a joint decision. “It’s actually a two-stone ring and the two stones are exactly the same size. That is very important because it symbolizes equality in the relationship.”

He also spoke about getting celebrities who are popular with millennials to wear diamond jewellery as a way of promoting jewellery, especially at events such as the Grammys, Emmys and Oscars.

Speaking on the issue of the different types of diamonds bought in various markets, Cleaver said that “China in general consumes better-quality diamonds and is brand conscious. The U.S., being the enormous market that it is, just about consumes anything that gets offered for sale across the whole value chain. India is generally very small diamonds, lots and lots of very small diamonds. In America, repeat purchasing is a big thing. Once people have bought more than one piece of diamond jewellery in America, they on average buy six pieces over their life.”

Cleaver emphasized ethical sourcing of the firm’s diamonds. “We’ve been well ahead of the game in ethical sourcing for a long time. When you buy a De Beers Forevermark diamond, it has a unique inscription number on it. And it comes with a certificate from the De Beers grading facilities where it was sourced and that there was no child labor, no unfair labor conditions and no environmental damage done.”

He said the U.S. market currently accounts for about 45 percent of global diamond jewellery demand. China, including Hong Kong, is about 16 percent. India is about 8 percent and Japan is about 5 percent, he added.