Rapaport: Holiday Demand Uplifts Diamond Trade; Shortages Seen In Popular Categories

The diamond market sentiment improved in November amid rising expectations for the holiday season, Rapaport said in a press release. A recovery in China and robust sales during India’s Diwali festival also lifted the mood.

Polished prices are stable for 1-carat and larger goods. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat stones edged up 0.5% in November.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)
NovemberYear to date
Jan. 1 to Dec. 1
Year on year
Dec. 1, 2019, to Dec. 1 2020
RAPI 0.30 ct.-2.9%-0.2%2.2%
RAPI 0.50 ct.-2.6%11.2%13.2%
RAPI 1 ct.0.5%3.4%3.5%
RAPI 3 ct.2.5%1.1%1.6%

© Copyright 2020, Rapaport USA Inc.

The holiday season began with strong e-commerce activity as the pandemic pushed consumers to shop online. Digital spending on Black Friday rose 22% year on year to $9 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. The spike in Covid-19 cases in the US and lockdowns in Europe have dampened expectations for in-store traffic during the peak shopping period.

Indian jewellery retailers saw the release of pent-up demand over Diwali. In mainland China, major jewellers are seeing double-digit growth. Hong Kong remains weak as the slump in tourism continues.

Polished trading slowed in late November as dealers in India and Belgium took a vacation during Diwali. Indian factories have returned to operating at an estimated 70% of capacity. The lack of manufacturing during the festival has left shortages of select goods. Rough sales have stabilised; De Beers sold $450 million-worth in November. The company’s year-to-date sales fell 25% to $2.3 billion.

Suppliers are focused on filling last-minute US holiday orders but are having difficulty replacing sold inventory due to scarcities in popular categories. There is continued strength in lower-colour goods and improving demand for ovals, cushions and emerald shapes as consumers seek unique designs at lower price points.

The industry’s focus is on retail, but uncertainty remains due to the spread of Covid-19. Companies with strong e-commerce and social media programmes are doing well; those that rely on in-person selling are struggling. Dealers and manufacturers are staying cautious since inventory requirements will likely drop in the coming year.

Caption: © De Beers 

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