China and India are two key markets which are expected to lead demand for diamonds in the short to medium term, an industry expert with more than 30 years in the diamond business told a conference this week.
De Beers Vice President, Marketing and, also Forevermark Chief Executive Stephen Lussier said the two leading economies which currently control just more than 20 percent will grow at much faster rates due to a number of factors. The current market share can even double by 2022.
“We expect demand from these countries to pick up in the next five to ten years largely due to urbanisation and strong economic growths,” said Lussier who is based in London ‘but rarely there’ as he travels the world over in search of new markets for the world’s most precious stone. As more and more people migrate to cities and towns for economic opportunities, ‘there will also be corresponding increase in income status’ enabling more people to afford diamond products such as jewellery. Lussier was speaking at the diamond conference organised by Botswana and De Beers.
The two are owners of rough diamond producer, Debswana Diamond Company. The Forevermark boss also pins his hopes on rising population in the two markets, stating it will boost sales. India, which is part of BRICS nations has strong middle class families ranging between 250 and 300 million. China’s population is well over 1, 3 billion, far much more than the current biggest market for diamonds by any measure, United States of America. On the other hand, India grew by 7, 6 percent in the year 2015/6, signaling better times for the economy and the diamond industry.
In the same vein, China the world’s second biggest economy saw its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) jumping by 6, 7 percent year on year up to June 2016. These are just some of the reasons that make Lussier upbeat that diamonds will now find more comfort in New Dehli and Beijing. Despite being bullish, Lussier is also aware of the current economic challenges and commodities price crash that has affected most economies, China and India included. The current difficulties have affected diamond demand. Last year alone, producers and suppliers in the diamond trade experienced a decline in revenue of as much as 30 percent. De Beers and Alrosa remain the biggest market players.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mignon Reykene, a consultant and senior lecturer at GIBS told delegates that, marketers of diamonds should also tap into other platforms for selling the product. She said the new generation of diamond buyers, which she termed ‘millennial’ are complex and different compared to those of the past. “They need right platforms such as online buying,” stressed Reykene who is also an independent consultant. About 6 percent of the world’s global diamond sales are done through online platforms.