As consumers in the US reassess their purchasing behavior in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, gifts that are meaningful and retain their value will be the priority as people emerge from lockdown, according to new research by the De Beers Group.

The research that took nine weeks demonstrated the lockdown had made many consumers feel grateful for things they used to take for granted, such as spending time with family, and it would influence their purchasing and gifting behavior in the future, according to a De Beers Group news release.

When it came to gifting and in particular looking forward to the holiday season, 56% of respondents felt gifts should be meaningful, over and above being practical, functional, or fun. Diamonds were seen as the top gift for symbolizing intimacy, connectedness, and love among men and women, with the primary desire for purchasing being a reflection of gratitude and acknowledgment during the current crisis.

And 90 percent of respondents said choosing gifts that hold their value over time would be an important consideration this holiday season, and more people chose diamonds as the top choice for a gift of this nature from a list of luxury items including designer clothing and accessories, electronic devices, a piece of furniture, or other jewelry, the news release added.

The findings are the first in a series of Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Reports that De Beers Group will publish to share insights regarding the evolving consumer perspective and what it means for diamonds as the world passes through the stages of the COVID-19 crisis.

Other findings from the first report include:

  • Around two-thirds of the consumers polled indicated their finances have not been affected by COVID-19. Three-quarters of consumers said that COVID-19 had not impacted their likelihood to purchase diamond jewelry and the majority of respondents continued to wear their diamond jewelry during lockdown because it made them ‘feel connected to someone’.
  • Consumers felt the safest shopping for jewelry online; however, they clearly distinguished local independent jewelers as the best source for knowledge and product quality, as well as being considered the safest of all the physical outlets for jewelry shopping.
  • And 45% of respondents said that they would seek to buy fewer, better things when considering clothing and jewelry purchases after the lockdown.
  • Consumer preference for travel continues to show a declining trend, with 39% of consumers saying it will be seven to 12 months before their travel spending stabilizes.

Bruce Cleaver, the CEO of the De Beers Group, said in the news release, “The COVID-19 crisis and associated lockdowns have caused people all around the world to re-evaluate aspects of what’s important in their lives and have reinforced the value of personal relationships.

“While consumer confidence and spending have been significantly impacted in the US, this research highlights that diamonds will nonetheless have a unique role to play in people’s lives in a post-lockdown world as they seek to celebrate their most meaningful relationships. While it will take some time for the market to recover fully, we hope these insights will assist large and independent jewelry retailers alike to understand the evolving consumer perspective as we move through and emerge from the crisis.”

Source: De Beers Group