De Beers Estimates Diamond Jewellery Demand +3% in 2012


Consumer demand for diamonds grew by 2 percent to 3 percent in 2012, according to ‎ De Beers estimates, a considerable drop from the 10 percent rate recorded in the previous two years.  The markets were negatively impacted by weakening macroeconomics and policy ‎uncertainties in India and China, as well as consumer caution in developed markets, according to the company in its annual consumer demand overview report. Rough_diamonds_loupe-  ‎

The survey measured growth according to polished diamond wholesale prices in U.S. ‎dollars. Sales in China rose between 8 percent and 10 percent, which was the  best performance, while demand in the U.S. and Japan grew 5 percent to 6 percent. The market in India ‎contracted by  5 percent in dollar terms, largely due to the depreciation of the rupee.  However, diamond jewelry sales in rupee in India rose 9 percent, while sales measured in yen increased 2 percent in Japan.

The U.S. remained the largest diamond consumer market with approximately 37 percent ‎of the marketshare, down from 42 percent in 2007. China represented about 11 percent of the ‎market, followed by Japan with 10 percent and India with around 9 percent. ‎

De Beers explained that global retail stock levels in all key markets were slightly lower ‎than in 2011, reflecting greater retail caution and a drive toward higher inventory efficiency.

The company also noted a consumer shift in demand toward smaller polished goods of lower-quality as shoppers increasingly become more price sensitive in reaction to higher diamond prices. ‎

Bridal and engagement rings continued to be the best selling products in the U.S. No ‎clear leading product categories were evident in India and Japan, however, but De Beers reported ‎that non-bridal multi-diamond rings were much more popular there than in other key ‎markets. In China, solitaire diamond products were prevalent catering mainly for bridal ‎and wedding anniversary occasions.‎

Retailer feedback indicated that the most popular category of polished diamonds varied ‎in different markets. In the U.S., the focus was on 0.50 carat to 0.99 carat, H+, SI goods, while in ‎China the most popular range was 0.30 carat to 0.49 carat, G to H, VS diamonds. In Japan, the best ‎sellers were 0.18 carat to 0.49 carat, H+, SI goods and in India they were 0.02 carat to 0.07 carat, G to H, VVS to ‎VS stones.‎

De Beers expects slightly better growth in 2013 supported by a steady U.S. market and ‎an improved outlook for India. Growth rates in China are expected to consolidate, while ‎demand in Japan is forecast

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