De Beers Woos Millennials With Personalized Experience


De Beers

De Beers Diamond Jewellers has opened a NYC flagship store on Madison Avenue with an invitation to consumers to discover “the home of diamonds since 1888.”

The new 200-square-meter space is outfitted with etched glass and specially designed statement furnishings, reflective of the LVMH-owned brand’s heritage. “The ground floor is dedicated to high jewellery and exceptional solitaires, while bridal and wedding creations are found in a cozy salon on the first floor,” according to a press release.

“Private rooms have been included to ensure a highly personalized shopping experience in an intimate setting. The bespoke ‘For you, Forever’ service takes the client experience even further, letting clients choose their diamond, select the desired setting and have a diamond engagement ring individually crafted.”

Celebrities Kate Mara, Greta Gerwig and Fan Bingbing were on hand for the flagship’s grand opening. And while De Beers has no problem attracting celebrities, the diamond industry in general faces major challenges as millennials reach financial security more slowly than their predecessors, and are thus less likely to spring for diamonds as gifts.

Weddings and gifts to wives and girlfriends continue to be the mainstay of the diamond business in the US, but since 2013 that sales figure has slid from 70 percent to 65 percent as more millennial women buy their own jewelry.

“We know that they are invested in the diamond dream, but they don’t like being told what to do, and there is tendency for brands to underestimate them,” De Beer’s CEO Bruce Cleaver recently told The New York Times.

The US continues to deliver 45 percent of De Beers’ sales while roughly 95 percent of the brand’s revenue comes from mining and producing diamonds—but wooing and winning millennials is key to the industry’s growth and to Cleaver’s strategy, specifically.

To that end, the #RealisRare campaign by the Diamond Producers Association is being partially financed by De Beers. “Maybe we won’t ever get married, and maybe we will … but it will be wild, it will be kind and it will be real,” says a voiceover in the campaign’s short film.

“The campaign is about millennials; it’s not aimed at the traditional successful couple that you’d see in advertising even five years ago—it’s not about diamond buyers on Fifth Avenue,” Cleaver told The Times.

De Beers

Far from Fifth Avenue, De Beers’ majority shareholder, Anglo American, is seeing a slowdown in sales following India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to scrap 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee banknotes as part of a crackdown on tax dodgers and counterfeiters. Anglo American is also taking drastic measures such as flooding a massive diamond mine in a subarctic lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories after failing to find a buyer.

In addition, The De Beers Victor Diamond Mine, the first diamond mine in the Canadian province of Ontario, is being taken to court by The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Wildlands League over reported mercury contamination at the mine, which is located near the Attawapiskat First Nation reserve.

As for spurring growth in sales and keeping diamonds top of mind at De Beers, Cleaver is banking on technological innovation across the entire diamond supply chain. “Mining—and I don’t confine this to De Beers—needs to be more tech savvy,’’ he told The New York Times. “If you can take every little incremental bit of what you do in the mine and do it better with technology, you will make your mines more efficient, you will make your yields better.”

While diamonds may still be a girl’s best friend, their mining and marketing are taking on new urgency in a world that is remarkably different from 1888—even as the desire to give lasting tokens of love endures.