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5 Crucial Facts About How People Buy Engagement Rings Today

The element of surprise is disappearing.




The element of surprise is disappearing from modern marriage proposals, a survey suggests.

Online wedding brand The Knot recently released the results of its 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study. The biannual report surveyed more than 14,000 engaged or recently married brides and grooms from the U.S. to uncover proposal-related trends in America.

Earlier this month, we reported on key statistics about engagement rings, such as the fact that the average ring spend is now $6,351, up from $5,095 in 2011.

Today we bring you the facts about marriage proposals and ring shopping. For example, many couples shop for the engagement ring together, according to the survey. And most brides know how much is being spent on the ring.

  • One in three couples shop for the engagement ring together. The average ring purchaser took 3.5 months to find the engagement ring they’d propose with, up from 3.3 months in 2011. While looking for engagement rings, 1 in 3 (33 percent) couples report shopping together, and 9 in 10 (89 percent) grooms are happy with their significant other’s level of involvement in the purchasing process. Only 6 percent of brides wish they would have been more involved in the purchasing process. The majority of grooms (72 percent) report facing some challenges throughout the ring purchasing journey, most notably not knowing if they were getting a good deal (35 percent) and not having a firm knowledge about diamond terminology (28 percent).
  • She knows how much was spent. In 2017, the average engagement ring cost $6,351, up 25 percent since 2011. The majority of grooms (70 percent) report deciding on the ring budget on their own. Eight percent of grooms report deciding on the ring budget with their partner. Nearly 1 in 3 (29 percent) grooms report spending more than planned on the engagement ring. Seven in 10 (70 percent) brides know how much their partner spent on the engagement ring. Nine in 10 (90 percent) brides report being happy with the amount their fiancé spent on the ring; 6 percent wish they had spent more and 4 percent wish they had spent less.
  • Buying the ring online is increasing in popularity. Just as more and more couples meet online (17 percent) and use their mobile devices for wedding-related tasks (90 percent), it’s no surprise there’s also a rise in the purchase of engagement rings online (14 percent). While the majority of grooms (86 percent) continue purchasing rings at retailers—with nearly half (45 percent) preferring to buy from a local or independent jeweler—14 percent of grooms purchased the engagement ring over the web, up from 10 percent in 2011. Grooms who bought rings online reported better pricing online (63 percent), finding the perfect ring while browsing online (45 percent), convenience (40 percent), and wanting to build a custom ring (29 percent) as the main reasons for moving from brick-and-mortar retailers to online.
  • Engagement rings are increasingly personalized for each couple. Whether grooms completely customized (18 percent) the ring or implemented touches of custom design (27 percent) with a jeweler, nearly half (45 percent) of all grooms had their engagement rings personalized in some capacity. Both brides and grooms agree the most important factors to consider in their ring purchase are the cut and shape of the stone, followed by the ring style and setting, and then the quality of the stone.
  • Time-honored proposal traditions are back in style. In 2017, we saw a return to tradition, with 9 in 10 grooms proposing with engagement ring in hand (91 percent) and actually using the words “will you marry me?” (91 percent), up from 85 percent and 86 percent since 2011, respectively. The majority of grooms (87 percent) reported proposing on bended knee, up from 77 percent in 2011. Grooms are also more frequently asking their partner’s family for permission (78 percent) than in years past.

The study shows a shift away from private proposals, with nearly half (45 percent) of proposals taking place in a public location, such as a scenic spot, garden, park or zoo, up from 34 percent in 2011. While grooms are meticulously planning their proposals over the course of an average 4.4 months, a declining number of brides report being surprised (35 percent) by the proposal.

Couples want to preserve their proposal moment through photos, and 47 percent report coordinating a photographer or videographer to capture the moment.



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Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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