Bridal Study Yields New Data on Consumer Buying Trends

May 3, 2004

Bridal Study Yields New Data on Consumer Buying Trends

Reflecting brides' continued interest in multistone rings, nearly half of consumers already engaged but not yet married purchased a ring with a center and side stones, says a study of consumers conducted in March 2004 by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council of MVI Marketing, Paso Robles, CA. Only 35% opted for a traditional solitaire, with six-prong, four-prong and cathedral settings popular. Channel-set and baguette and princess-cut accents were selected by 40%, while 10% preferred pavé and 5% opted for three-stone styling.

Although the majority of respondents in this category chose a diamond center, fewer than 5% opted for color – with blue and pink sapphires top choices. Round is the leading center cut for over two-fifths of the respondents, followed by marquise for almost 30%, and princess or square cuts for nearly 18%. Yellow gold in 14k was the most popular metal for more than 50%, platinum ranked second and two-tone white and yellow gold followed.

What Price is Right?
Over 60% spent between $1,000 and $5,000 on an engagement ring, 5% spent more than $10,000, and fewer than one-third spent between $100 and $1,000. More than one-third of engagement rings were purchased as a set, while over half were not. More than half opted for a 14k yellow gold wedding band for the bride, with almost 13% choosing platinum. One-third bought a band with stones channel set part way around. One-third spent over $1,000 on the bride's band; 20% between $100 and $250.

Nearly three-quarters of the rings purchased for brides and grooms were done so separately. More than 31% spent between $100 and $250 on the groom's band, almost 35% spent more than $500, and 20% spent $1,001- $2,500. Yellow gold in 14k was most popular for men, followed by 18k white and yellow gold. Over half purchased a band with no stones, but more than 20% opted for one channel-set.

Of those who have not yet purchased bridal jewelry, but plan to get an engagement ring in the next six months, nearly one-third will choose a set for the bride's rings. A full 40% plan to select a center stone with side accents, three-stone styling or channel setting, while 31% plan to buy a solitaire, with four-prong, six-prong, and cathedral settings favored.

Although a majority have or are considering diamonds for the engagement ring, more than 17% of prospective buyers are unsure. Fewer than one-third of buyers say the bride's engagement ring has or will have color – blue sapphire, champagne diamonds and emerald are top choices. Yellow gold is a favorite of one-quarter of those surveyed, but platinum and white gold are gaining, the leading choice for 29% and 24% of this group. Round and princess-cut center stones are tops, followed by marquise. Nearly one-third of buyers spent or plan to spend between $1,001 and $2,500 dollars on the engagement ring, one-third say they will spend more than $2,500, and less than10% report they will spend between $100 and $500.

Adding On
Add-on bridal sales have strong potential, according to the new JCOC data. The report says just over a quarter of those engaged plan to exchange jewelry other than wedding rings as wedding gifts, with over half willing to pay more than $1,000 each for these additional gifts.

As for the wedding day jewels, over three-quarters of the brides intend to walk down the aisle adorned in jewelry valued at more than $100 with over 33% intending to wear a necklace. Earrings, pendants, and rings are also likely choices. Although nearly half of the respondents will not be giving jewelry gifts to their wedding parties, more than 26% will and a similar percentage are open to the idea.

The JCOC study was conducted March 23 through April 1 and 2,472 consumers were asked questions about their buying habits with a focus on bridal. For a copy of the full report, including general jewelry-buying habits and economic confidence levels, visit or contact MVI Marketing at (805) 239-2994, ext.101 or e-mail

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