A global pandemic hits and the engagement ring market flourishes. At first glance, that sentence might puzzle you. With millions of individuals out of work, purchasing an engagement ring might not be the first thing on many people’s shopping lists. Yet, when you understand the nuance to these unprecedented times, it actually makes perfect sense. 

Here's everything you need to know about how and why COVID has changed the engagement ring market.

Quarantine Couples

Although many joked about the rise in divorces coming at the end of quarantine, what many did not expect was the rise in engagements. With tons of individuals working from home, now more than ever partners are spending more time with each other and realizing their desire to be married. There’s also something to say about going through a worldwide pandemic with someone by your side.

These newly engaged partners are driving the rebound of the luxury industry after dismal sales dropped coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic. Luxury retail sales fell significantly, and at one point, the industry had lost over 90% of retail sales. However, as individuals fell into their new normal, confidence grew and engagements skyrocketed. The outlook for the luxury engagement ring industry is generally positive, especially since diamond sales were growing prior to the pandemic’s toll.

The Shift from In-store to Online Engagement Ring Shopping

Deemed an unessential business, many jewelry stores were forced to shut their brick-and-mortar stores and shift to an online storefront. For some, the shift was simple and easy, as many retailers had already begun to shift operations online. Others have weathered the storm, and are relying on things to open up again. However, the trend was shifting toward e-commerce even before COVID, as online shopping sales have exponentially increased. Since the beginning of March, online sales have increased by up to 38% of their usual rate. 

Online engagement ring shopping tips are widely available, but typically emphasize doing your due diligence before making any purchase. As a consumer, it's crucial to verify a company's legitimacy and reputation before buying their goods. This is even more vital when it comes to engagement rings. There's a big difference between being cheated out of $15 for a shirt and being scammed out of $3,000 for an engagement ring. 

The Rise of Lab-grown Diamonds

Almost weekly reports of job losses, stock market fluctuations, and record-high unemployment claims underscore the nation's weakened economy. Many Americans have had to become more frugal and make financially conscious decisions. 

This newfound thriftiness has had an impact on the jewelry industry, especially for newly engaged couples. The result has been an increased interest in lab-grown diamonds over traditionally mined diamonds.

Lab-grown diamonds are virtually identical to mined diamonds. They are formed in a lab setting where advanced technology is used to mimic the conditions in which carbon is turned into a diamond. The machines put carbon under extreme heat and pressure to create lab-created stones that do not differ from mined diamonds optically, chemically, or physically. They appeal to those consumers who want to purchase a real diamond, but don't want to pay the exorbitant price of one. 

Lab-grown diamonds are sold at a fraction of the price of mined diamonds — in some cases up to 40% less. The low price of lab-grown diamonds makes it possible to get a large stone on a low budget. Carat-for-carat, lab-grown diamonds offer consumers more bang for their buck. 

As the 2020 holiday season closes in, De Beers reported that 60% of survey respondents in the U.S. expect to buy diamond jewelry. It’s likely many of those buyers will gravitate toward lab-grown diamonds, as the industry's best-kept secret is making waves. 

The Ease of Shopping from Home

There are few things left that can't be bought online. From cars to houses, a few clicks can make you the proud new owner of almost anything. Consumers have come to expect this convenience, regardless of industry. 

As online shopping's convenience becomes an expectation of customers, businesses will have to shift their operations to meet this growing demand. Expect to see the jewelry industry following in the footsteps of other industries and permanently turning to online storefronts. This shift is particularly beneficial to those brick-and-mortar storefronts that were spending large amounts on rent. 

For the diamond brands that were ahead of the curve, the e-commerce model has boded well during the pandemic. With thousands of jewelry stores temporarily or permanently closed, consumers are becoming rapidly adjusted to the idea of buying their diamond jewelry online.

Final Thoughts

With the COVID pandemic still not under control in many places, uncertainty looms. The effects are likely going to be long-lasting, but that means we'll have to adjust. Both people and industries have proven to be resilient in the wake of this tragic situation. If you're lucky enough to have found the love of your life, don't let this pandemic stop you from asking them to spend their life with you. 

Find an engagement ring that demonstrates your love right from the comfort of your living room. We are lucky to be living in a digital age, so we can make connections that last a lifetime, even when the future is uncertain. Stay safe!