Executive Briefings

At De Beers, Winning Over Millennials Is Critical to Industry Survival

"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." So says the voice-over for a short film created for the Diamond Producers Association's "Real Is Rare" marketing campaign.

Aimed squarely at millennials and partly financed by De Beers, the dominant diamond producer, its introduction came just weeks after Bruce Cleaver's appointment as that company's chief executive in July. And the piece neatly sums up the challenges - and opportunities - the diamond industry presented him this year.

His job has recently taken him to Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. “A fairly standard kind of week,” Cleaver, 51, said with a smile as he sat in the De Beers office in central London. Beside him was a table displaying an array of diamond jewelry, its centerpiece a simple but striking diamond line necklace that seemed to dazzle from every possible angle.

Although about 95 percent of De Beers’s revenue comes from mining and producing diamonds, ensuring demand at the other end of the supply chain by winning over millennials is critical to the long-term economic health of the industry, and the cornerstone of Cleaver’s strategy: “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.”

In 2015, De Beers data showed, millennials spent nearly $26bn on diamond jewelry in China, India, Japan and the United States, 45 percent of the total retail value of all new diamond jewelry that year, and making them the largest group of diamond retail consumers. And the numbers are expected to grow as millennials reach financial maturity.

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Aimed squarely at millennials and partly financed by De Beers, the dominant diamond producer, its introduction came just weeks after Bruce Cleaver's appointment as that company's chief executive in July. And the piece neatly sums up the challenges - and opportunities - the diamond industry presented him this year.

His job has recently taken him to Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. “A fairly standard kind of week,” Cleaver, 51, said with a smile as he sat in the De Beers office in central London. Beside him was a table displaying an array of diamond jewelry, its centerpiece a simple but striking diamond line necklace that seemed to dazzle from every possible angle.

Although about 95 percent of De Beers’s revenue comes from mining and producing diamonds, ensuring demand at the other end of the supply chain by winning over millennials is critical to the long-term economic health of the industry, and the cornerstone of Cleaver’s strategy: “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.”

In 2015, De Beers data showed, millennials spent nearly $26bn on diamond jewelry in China, India, Japan and the United States, 45 percent of the total retail value of all new diamond jewelry that year, and making them the largest group of diamond retail consumers. And the numbers are expected to grow as millennials reach financial maturity.

Read Full Article