Millennial attitudes are forcing a massive change in the diamond industry – by Mary Hanbury (Business Insider – May 10, 2018)

Millennials are coming around to a big loophole in engagement ring shopping. The idea of spending thousands of dollars on a diamond is becoming less appealing as lab-grown alternatives of the stone are gaining traction. These lab-grown versions can look very similar to mined diamonds and can cost around 30-40% less.

This diamond-making process dates back to 1954 but has grown in popularity in the last decade. It’s still small-scale, however, as manufacturers of these diamonds, such as Pure Grown Diamonds and MiaDonna, make up a very small part of the overall market share — around 1% of the $80 billion global business for rough diamonds.

But this could be changing. According to a Morgan Stanley report cited by Forbes, lab-grown diamonds could take 7.5% of the total market share by 2020.

The stigma around buying these “alternatives” is disappearing, largely thanks to millennials’ evolving shopping tastes. In a survey of 1,000 consumers aged between 21 and 40, half of which had household incomes of $50,000 or higher, nearly 70% said they would consider buying lab-grown diamonds, according to MVI Marketing. This was a 13 percentage-point increase from the year before, when 57% said the same, Forbes reported.

This is partly because the diamonds are very similar in appearance to mined diamonds. While the companies that manufacture the stones aren’t allowed to refer to these are “real” diamonds — because they aren’t — they aren’t completely alien to the real versions.

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