Millennials are once again defying the norms. According to a study by WP Diamonds, a whopping 37 percent of Millennials—nearly four out of 10—said that they’d sell an engagement ring to fund another major purchase, such as buying a home, traveling, or pursuing higher education. In addition, this generation is choosing nontraditional engagement rings, including plain gold bands and alternative non-diamond gem stones.
“On the surface it seems like Millennials are competitive, materialistic and flashy, especially as a result of their tight connection to social media,” Andrew Brown, president of WP Diamonds, told Forbes. “However, we’ve seen through this survey, as well as a wide variety of other studies, that this generation is actually very smart about their purchases and dedicated to properly planning for the future.”
According to Forbes, 55 percent of Millennials sold jewelry in 2016 to help fund future costs. The study also revealed what Millennials view as the most important financial investments: 62.7 percent said a home, 58.8 percent said higher education, 52.9 percent said travel, 31.5 percent said a car, and only 25.5 percent said an engagement ring. Additionally, 69 percent of Millennials would consider opting out of the traditional white diamond engagement ring and purchasing an alternative type of gem stone.
“There will always be a market for extravagant engagement and wedding rings, as this is a custom that has existed for decades,” Brown added. “However, there has definitely been a clear shift toward alternative options that has affected the diamond industry and its growth.”
“Millennials are informed, they know what things are worth and they value quality of life above all,” said Brown. “So trading in diamonds for experiences or adjusting their engagement ring choices for pieces that better suit their lifestyle and future makes more sense to them than wearing or holding on to something because they feel they’re supposed to.”