Over 2.5 million couples are expected to have their marriage events next year, according to The Wedding Report. This number will show a 25% increase from this year and also break the 1984’s record for weddings. It seems as if the couples affected by 2020’s lockdown and ongoing pandemic are tired of waiting and wish to tie the knot as soon as they can. The average cost of the next year’s ceremonies is estimated at $24,300 with nearly a third of it spent on bridal and wedding jewelry.
This is certainly good news for the jewelry retailers. They are supposed to experience the wedding boom early, as the high season for the engagement ring orders is starting this month and should peak in December. A lot of couples will shop for a diamond ring for the first time in their lives, and the jewelers will have a great opportunity to make them their regular customers. While e-commerce is getting more popular, only 11% of couples bought bridal jewelry online in 2020, according to The Knot. This means that the traditional stores are still the main place that people choose to shop for engagement rings at. And the key to maintaining this status is the affordability of choice.
Over the last couple of years digital retailers opened many physical showrooms to attract more traditional customers that value the experience. At the same time more and more brick-and-mortars started offering lab-grown diamonds to the public following big online brands. Marty Hurwitz of MVEye reported that over half of the US’s independent jewelers will offer man-made gems this season. Major retail chains will follow the lead. Signet, the biggest jewelry retailer, will add lab-grown diamond collections to their stores after successfully testing this category online last year.
According to Tonia Zehrer, Signet’s senior vice president, Kay, Zales and Jared locations are stocking up lab-created diamonds to offer additional choice which is getting more popular “with customers looking for larger stones and qualities at fantastic price points”. Marty Hurwitz thinks that with Signet fully embracing man-made gemstones, “other jewelers will have to take a hard look at this category or lose out on it”, adding that there’s a possibility for lab-grown diamond jewelry to become “the most in-demand thing in the store”.
The executives of many man-made diamond manufacturers are expecting the immense growth of sales this season. With more brick and mortar stores offering lab-grown diamonds, the soon-to-be-wed couples will be able to see for themselves what they can get on their budget. Many may go for a center stone of a bigger size or better quality. MVEye research confirms that the jewelers carrying the lab-growns can close between 60% to 80% of hesitating customers once they’re educated about the product. The retailers are also motivated by the margins. According to the MVEye survey, the average lab-grown diamond sale has a margin of 16% to 40% higher than what the mined diamond sale brings.
With wedding boom, consumers’ interest, and affordability and increasing spread of lab-created gems, Marty Hurwitz projects that the fourth quarter of this year will show huge numbers of the sales in the category. Although, it doesn’t mean that the mined diamond sales will drop. “It’s not an either/or choice, but both,” Hurwitz says. “... lab-growns are growing the whole jewelry diamond pie, expanding the market and bringing in new customers”.