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What Brides Say About Rings....and You
A new consumer survey of 9,500 brides and grooms by The Knot uncovers five opportunities for maximizing bridal sales


While the state of the global economy has downsized the spending habits of most Americans, there’s one group that continues to carry on with its plans: today’s brides and grooms. But a March 2009 recession-era survey by The Knot of recently and soon-to-be married couples shows that jewelers could do more to maximize the bridal opportunity.

The Knot “Market Intelligence Bridal Series: 2009 Jewelry Study” looked at the jewelry purchases of 9,578 members of TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com with wedding dates from August 2008 to September 2009. More than half of the respondents, 68%, were single and engaged, going through the wedding planning process and the other 32% were already married.

The down economy is having little impact on important wedding necessities like the engagement ring for a majority of couples, according to the study. In fact, 80% of couples did not downsize their ring choice. While 44% of couples have a budget for the engagement ring, with nearly half of them sticking to it, 20% actually claim to have exceeded it. Even more noteworthy is the nearly 20% who do not have a budget at all, leaving room for jewelers to be more instrumental in helping couples plan for wedding ring expenses.

“The current economic climate isn’t stopping couples from celebrating,” explains Carley
Roney, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Knot. “Brides are still planning glamorous weddings, but they are being very smart about how they spend. Couples are reprioritizing, spending their dollars on items that have lasting value.”

THE ENGAGEMENT RING TODAY

One of the items of lasting value that has stayed a priority is the engagement ring. In fact, the average price of the engagement ring for the couples surveyed increased from the last survey conducted by The Knot in 2005, published in the June 2005 issue of Modern Jeweler.

In 2009, the average (mean) ring spend is $5,800; with the median ring spend about $4,000. Noteworthy is that 26% spend more than $5,000 on the ring and 20% spend more than $6,000, with 10% spending more than $10,000.

The survey found that stone cut/shape and style/setting vied for the most important attributes, with 53% and 52% respectively ranking them as #1 or #2. Metal is the third most important attribute, followed by stone size and price/value tied for fourth place. The least important attributes for engagement ring shoppers are the retailer and designer.

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18k gold ring with 2 carat Perfect Princess Cut center

Princess cuts now account for 29 percent of engagement rings. “Empress” 18k gold ring with 2 carat Perfect Princess Cut center and .77 carat total weight ideal cut round diamonds from I DO DIAMONDS, (866) 342-6743, www.idodiamonds.net.

men’s bands. Tungsten 6mm band from BENCHMARK

Tungsten now accounts for 19 percent of all men’s bands. Tungsten 6mm band from BENCHMARK, suggested retail $390, (800) 633-5950, www.benchmarkrings.com.

Three-stone design with micro-pavé totaling 97 diamonds

Popular bridal styles today accent the center stone with multiple diamonds. Three-stone design with micro-pavé totaling 97 diamonds and 1.50 carats, suggested retail $4,000 not including center, from G.N. DIAMOND, (800) 724-8810, www.gndiamond.com.

Handcrafted 18k gold engagement ring from the “Carmella” collection
This style from KIRK KARA is one of the brand’s top-performing designs on TheKnot.com.
Handcrafted 18k gold engagement ring from the “Carmella” collection with 1.61 carats of diamonds (center stone not included), suggested retail $5,925, (800) 874-0181, www.kirkkara.com.
TRUE ROMANCE 14k gold engagement rings from the “Statement” collection
TRUE ROMANCE 14k gold engagement rings from the “Statement” collection, suggested retail $1,635 each, not including center stone, (800) 232-2728, www.paulwinston.com.