Gold jewellery displayed at a shop in Delhi. Photo: Reuters
With the US jewellery market, the world’s largest, having reported a slowing in demand during the March quarter, De Beers pins hope on India and China for growth this year.
In an annual study, Diamond Insight, the London-based diamonds mining entity said, “While US demand drove global growth in 2016, it is increasing demand from emerging markets that is behind the last five years being the strongest on record. Despite some markets facing challenging conditions last year, we see this trend continuing, with improvements in demand from China and India, in particular, emerging in 2017.”
The study said the US contributed around half of world diamond jewellery consumption, at $80 billion, in 2016, a 4.4 per cent growth. “American consumers continue to express strong desire for diamonds but their purchasing habits are changing rapidly. While bridal diamond jewellery remains fundamental, we are seeing both single and married women buying for themselves more frequently and more purchases being made online. Meanwhile, products such as multi-diamond jewellery are becoming more popular,” said Bruce Cleaver, chief executive officer for the De Beers Group.
China saw marginal growth of 0.6 per cent to renminbi 64 bn in 2016. India, Japan and the Gulf regions also saw a steep decline in diamond jewellery consumption, the study said. India saw an 8.8 per cent decline in rupee terms to Rs 19,200 crore in 2016, as compared to Rs 21,100 crore the previous year. The contraction is attributed to exchange rates, a jewellers’ strike on levies and demonetisation. Demand has started to return to more normal levels in 2017.