Are Millennials Destroying the Jewelry Industry?

Man asking marriage with the image of the ring in a smart phone

Kanye West tried to bring back the world-famous slogan, “Diamonds Are Forever.”

Last year, the Jewelers Board of Trade said that over 1600 jewelry retailers in the United States were forced to close in the past two years.

Since the turn of the century, the industry that used to grow by 2.5% per year has shrunk by 60%.

Is the Industry Dead?

It most definitely isn’t. A Brides’ American Wedding study  showed that an average couple spent about $8,000 on engagement rings in 2018. This figure is 56% higher than the previous year, so why are so many businesses shutting down? 

Millennials and Gen Xers are using the Internet. The industry is still saturated with mom and pop shops, with a minimal online presence when compared to big retailers like Tiffany’s and Zales. While the big retailers have grown, mom and pop shops have started to disappear.

Why Millennials Aren’t Interested in Diamonds

Well, to start with, fewer people getting married. The diamond industry, however, has launched a campaign on buying diamonds to commemorate real relationships. As opposed to only buying diamonds right before we say, “I do,” we’re now buying diamonds because we moved in together and are celebrated milestones in the relationship.

Opting for More Sustainable Jewelry

The diamond industry can sometimes be infamous for conflict diamonds. This is one of those things that may be turning millennials away from buying them. They’re opting for more ethically sustainable stones.

If you have an old ring lying around, there are countless places for people looking to sell my diamond ring online, without worrying that they are blood diamonds collected from conflict-ridden areas. A lot of young people are opting for such services to buy conflict-free diamonds.

People’s Priorities are Different

More and more millennials are valuing experience over things. Our ownership priorities have changed. Rather than splurging on an expensive car and jewelry, we’d rather spend the money on a trip.

What millennials consider important has also changed, they don’t prioritize the big house and the nuclear family anymore. We would rather find someone who shares our values so that we can have memorable experiences instead of expensive jewelry.

We Have Less Disposable Income

The Federal Reserve says Americans have less money to spend. We’re not buying assets, we’re spending more on rent, and we have less income than the two generations that came before us.

That’s why we’re a little more careful when we spend money. One advantage we have, though, is that we’re tech-savvy. We learned to look for and use online stores that we trust and make more of our purchases online.

Big cultural changes  

Our whole culture is changing, and more and more millennials are embracing minimalism. A lot of us are opting for a non-traditional relationship rather than a monogamous one that leads to the altar. More relationship types and sexual orientations are also impacting marriage rates, which influences the amount of diamonds rings that are purchased.