Sparkling growth for De Beers

15 08 2010

HONG KONG: Global diamond producer De Beers Group expects its mainland business will grow 12 to 13 percent in 2007 on strong demand.

Christina Hudson, marketing director of De Beers Group (Greater China), said changing buying habits on the mainland over the past decade have seen it become one of the fastest growing markets for diamonds.

“When we started marketing on the mainland in 1993 diamonds had no emotional significance for mainlanders compared with jade and other jewelry.”

But tastes have gradually changed over the past decade, especially when it comes to wedding jewelry.

Last year, about 40 percent of mainland women bought diamond rings for their weddings.

De Beers’ revenue increased 18 percent to $1.7 billion last year.

David Rudlin, director of international markets at De Beers, predicted sales in the niche market would grow 14 percent in the second half, and 12 to 13 percent for the full year.

The average price per diamond sold was around $2,800 – about 3.5 times higher than the market average. The average carat per piece sold has gone up from 0.25 to 0.41 carats.

The thriving economy is driving demand for luxury goods such as diamonds on the mainland, which makes up about 2 percent of the global diamond market in terms of sales.

The Gem & Jewelry Trade Association of China predicted the overall trading value of jewelry in China could hit 200 billion yuan by 2010, which would make it the biggest jewelry market in the world.

Hong Kong Trade Development Council figures show that the mainland retail jewelry market grew at a speed of over 13 percent annually between 2003 and 2005.

“On the mainland, about 9 percent of women from urban districts own diamonds, but 80 percent of them only have one piece,” said Hudson.

The figures show the huge potential of the mainland market, compared with 70 percent of Hong Kong women who own diamonds – they have more than 10 pieces each.

With 85 outlets, De Beers’ network covers 17 mainland cities.

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