Every other year, we conduct the largest wedding jewelry and engagement ring study of it’s kind called The Knot Jewelry & Engagement Study. The survey covers couples who are engaged or recently married in the past 12 months, and we learn all sorts of really valuable data and insights from the survey. This year’s results are in. Take a look!
Photo by READYLUCK
Engagement ring spend is at an all time high.
Couples report spending an average of $6,351 on the engagement ring. Compare that to the average of $5,095 in 2011 — spend is way up. Interestingly, among survey respondents, they’re living together for longer, they’re slightly older (average age of a bride is 29, a groom is 31) and their average household income is up across the board as well. In other words, we’re seeing couples who are older, more established, making more money buying engagement rings at a slightly higher price point than in years past.
What To Do About It: Knowing that spend is on the rise, consider how you’re positioning your jewelry and offerings. Are you laser-focused on beating the prices in town? That might work for you if you’re going for volume but for many jewelers, this trend toward higher price point rings indicates that couples are more concerned about the product, the process and getting what they want — rather than getting a deal.
They’re spending more time researching, but looking at fewer engagement rings.
For guys, the average time spent ring shopping was 3.5 months. Compare that to 3.3 months in 2011 and we’re finding that guys are taking longer to shop for the ring than ever before. During their search, guys looked at an average of 26 rings — down from 28 rings in 2011. So even though they’re taking longer to pick the ring, they’re not considering as many options. Why? Believe it or not but it may have to do with the changing technical landscape. Couples in general are used to a fast, frictionless purchase process (think Amazon, Etsy, and even Seamless delivery). Their appetite for browsing dozens upon dozens of option has fallen just like their desire to search through products.
What To Do About It: You want to make sure people are talking about you and finding you in the right light. Do that by creating trust in your brand and awareness of your business by investing creating meaningful connections with current and future clients through your website, social media and of course your portfolio on The Knot. (Ahem.) It’s one of the best ways to make sure that you’re the jeweler showing shoppers those 26 rings rather than someone else down the street.
She’s more involved than ever before.
Yep, you read that right. The percentage of women involved in ring shopping has gone up by 5 percentage points since 2011. In fact, 70% of women surveyed claimed to have some involvement in the final decision — that includes shopping for the ring together (33%) or hinting about what they wanted in a ring (38%). With that means less buyer regret. Only 6% of women report wishing they could have been more involved in the process.
What To Do About It: Don’t assume that if a couple is shopping together, they’re not ready to purchase the ring. And absolutely make sure to have a conversation with him or her on any hints or must-haves that they may know already. Finally, watch your pronouns. With more women involved in the process, you might not want to gear all of your marketing materials and words toward men! Try replacing “him” and “he” with “you” — it’s more direct anyway.
They want the proposal captured on film.
For our survey respondents, one of the most important parts of the proposal was capturing the memory on camera. In fact, 47% of of proposers had a photographer / videographer on the scene. That’s up a whopping 6 points in only 2 years.
What To Do About It: If you’re a photographer or videographer, consider offering a paparazzi package for proposals. And be sure to include a quick turn around time for the final product. With almost 80 percent of couples sharing the news on social media within three days of their engagement, they’ll want to share with friends and family ASAP.
Stone cut, setting and quality are at the top of the list.
The stone cut and ring setting are the number one and two factors couples consider when choosing the engagement ring. Third most important factor is the stone quality. What’s not toward the top of the list? The designer.
A few more fun facts from our survey?
Most popular metal: White gold
Most popular (non-diamond) gem: Sapphire
Most popular setting: Prong
What To Do About It: You need to speak their language. Make sure you’re optimizing your website with descriptive engagement ring terms that have more to do with setting, shape and stone cut than touting name brand designers. When you post an image on social media, remember this as well. Put an emphasis on the cut, setting and shape in your captions. For example, “Check out this stunning, top quality,round diamond set in rose gold” (not “Here’s the latest design in stock from Michael B.”).
Oval rings are on the rise; round is still the most popular.
Oval rings were just a blip on the radar in 2011, at 1% of all engagement rings purchased. In 2017 however, 7% of couples chose an oval cut engagement ring. The most beloved cut by far? That would be round. More than half of couples (52%), choose a round cut engagement ring. Also good to know: Princess cut diamonds are on the decline — down 16 percentage points since 2011.
What To Do About It: Do a photo audit. Make sure that you’re showing round and oval engagement rings in the mix. And try moving the princess cut rings to the back of your portfolio too!
But price matters more for him and size matters more for her.
The biggest difference between men and women? Price. Grooms considered the ring price to be the 4th most important factor but women put it 6th on the list. Add to that, the majority of men (83%) would rather buy a smaller, better quality diamond than a larger stone of lesser quality while only 53% of women felt the same way. And consider this: 47% of grooms surveyed said they stuck to their original budget (vs. 39% in 2011). So your average customer has a better idea of what he wants to spend than previous years, and is more likely to stick to it.
What To Do About It: Regardless of whether men or women consider price more or less important, the same is true for both: pricing isn’t in the top three for ring shoppers. So focus more on quality, craftsmanship, uniqueness — and have that pricing conversation where it makes sense.
Local independent shops are on the rise.
When asked where they ultimately purchased the engagement ring. almost half of all men surveyed listed a local or independent jeweler. This number has been steadily rising year over year and has risen 5 percentage points since 2011.
What To Do About It: Whether you’re a big national chain or a small independent store, play up your uniqueness to couples in your marketing materials and in person. Use words like “custom” and “unique” and talk more about the story and process behind each engagement ring rather than the price. And find ways to make your business more relatable and real. Try featuring behind-the-scenes videos of couples shopping for rings. Tell the story about how your couples met and got engaged on your social profiles. Get creative!
The bands almost never match.
Get this: 90% of couples bought non-matching wedding bands. That said, over half (60%) bought their bands together at the same retailer. So while they’re very motivated to express their individual style through their wedding band, they’re still buying from the same jeweler they know and trust.
What to Do About It: Forget about selling them matching bands. The wedding band conversation should be all about their unique style. Don’t be shy about showing them unconventional options too. Pair rose gold with platinum or white gold, or suggest stacking rings. Anything goes.