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Average Engagement Ring Spend Surges 56%, Survey Finds

The typical spend in 2018 was $7,829, according to a Brides magazine survey.

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THE AMOUNT BRIDAL COUPLES spent on their engagement rings surged nearly 56 percent in 2018, according to Brides‘ American Wedding Study. The surprising climb — from $5,023 in 2017 to $7,829 in 2018 — may reflect a demand for more ornate setting styles and larger center stones.

The engagement ring stats were part of a broad-based survey that also revealed the cost of an average wedding zoomed to an all-time high of $44,105, as more and more couples sought new ways to personalize and extend their celebrations.

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Brides’ 2018 survey was designed to reveal key insights into the latest trends, behaviors and spending habits for weddings in America, based on responses from 850 brides-to-be or newly married women.

The Knot, which usually publishes its bridal survey at the end of February, reported in 2018 that the average spent on an engagement ring in 2017 was $5,764, down slightly from $6,163 in 2016. It will be interesting to see if The Knot’s new stats will reflect startling upward movement, as well.

“Spending is way up across categories, proving that while couples are doing things their own way, they are still prioritizing celebrating their marriage,” said Lisa Gooder, executive director, Brides. “More than ever, couples are savoring the whole process, from engagement to honeymoon and beyond, by celebrating with more events, trips, and professional photos or videos to capture the moments.”

The Brides report emphasized these emerging trends: In 2018, 9 percent of couples took a wedding-moon (pre-wedding trip) together; 31 percent hosted multi-day wedding weekends (up from 20 percent in 2017); 39 percent had a post-reception after-party (up from 20 percent in 2017); and 14 percent of brides wore a second look for their after-party (up from 7 percent in 2017).

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Here’s how the 2018 American Wedding Study breaks down the expenditures for an average wedding:

  • Catering: $12,242
  • Reception: $9,764
  • Engagement ring(s): $7,829
  • Photography: $3,133
  • Rentals: $2,920
  • Rehearsal dinner: $2,775
  • Flowers: $2,629
  • Wedding planner fees: $2,481
  • Reception music: $2,380
  • Dress: $2,260
  • Videography: $2,180
  • Wedding ring(s): $1,890
  • Post-wedding brunch: $1,503
  • After-party: $1,325
  • Wedding day transportation: $1,275
  • Other decor: $1,183
  • Day-of-wedding beauty for bride and bridal party: $944
  • Invitations, announcements, thank-you cards, etc.: $917
  • Ceremony: $651
  • Groom’s attire: $602
  • Cake: $547
  • Favors: $422
  • Gifts to bridesmaids: $419
  • Gifts to parents: $386
  • Veil: $316

KEY FINDINGS

  • Average age of bride: 28
  • Average age of partner: 29
  • Average number of bridal attendants: 5.4
  • Average number of groomsmen: 5.3
  • September and October are the most popular months to get married (32%).
  • The majority of couples get married on Saturday (68%), followed by Friday (16%), and Sunday (9%).
  • Average number of guests: 167
  • 83% of brides opted for a white/off-white wedding dress (down from 92% in 2017).
  • 17% of couples have a destination wedding.
  • 97% of brides say their fiancé is involved in planning the wedding, and of those, 36% are very involved.
  • Although 92% set a budget (vs. 90% in 2017), 45% of those who do spend more than they planned (vs. 34% in 2017).
  • 87% of couples went on a honeymoon/mini-moon, up from 77% in 2017.
  • More couples are taking engagement photos than ever, up to 80% from 66% in 2017.
  • More couples are having a post-wedding brunch; 41% vs. 31% in 2017.
  • Engagement parties are on the rise, with 38% of couples saying they had one, up from 32% in 2017.
  • 28% of couples got engaged on a holiday or special occasion, up from 12% in 2017.
  • December has the most engagements at 14%.

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • 23% met their partner on social media, through a dating app, or an online dating site.
  • 82% report using social media to find inspiration/their wedding style.
  • 87% of brides report using Pinterest as an inspiration source for their wedding.
  • 76% of brides report using Instagram as an inspiration source for their wedding.
  • 20% of brides report using Facebook as an inspiration source for their wedding.
  • 70% use social media to find and follow vendors.
  • 60% follow wedding brands/products they’ve already purchased/booked.
  • 57% search social media by hashtag to view photos of other weddings (up from 37% in 2017).
  • 48% use social media to purchase items for the wedding (bridesmaids dresses, invitations, beauty products, etc.).
  • 46% post photos/updates/stories throughout the planning process (up from 40% in 2017).
  • 54% of brides say most of their friends learned of their engagement through social media.
  • 70% create a custom hashtag for guests to use at the wedding (vs. 51% in 2017).
  • 48% create a custom hashtag for their wedding-related events (i.e., bachelorette party) vs. 36% in 2017.
  • 35% create a custom Snapchat geofilter for their wedding (vs. 17% in 2017).
  • 9% ask guests not to post photos of their wedding on social media.

WEDDING TECH

  • 94% of couples incorporate technology into their wedding planning in some way.
  • 80% create a wedding website for guests.
  • 67% use a wedding planning app (i.e., checklists, budget trackers).
  • 53% allow guests to RSVP to wedding and/or wedding-related events via email or wedding site.
  • 27% send digital invites to wedding-related events (i.e., shower, bachelorette, engagement party, etc.).
  • 26% use high-tech devices for photographing their wedding (i.e., drones, GIF photo booths, GoPros, etc.).
  • 10% send digital invites as save-the-dates.
  • 7% have a live feed of wedding hashtag displayed at the reception (i.e., Instagram photos, tweets, etc.).
  • 6% send digital invites to wedding ceremony or reception.
  • 5% live-stream their ceremony for out-of-town guests.
  • 4% offer charging stations for guests at their wedding.

Howard Cohen is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, hscohen60@gmail.com. Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

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Headlines

Blue Nile CEO Departs

The company has named an interim chief.

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Blue Nile CEO Jason Goldberger has left the company, GeekWire reports.

There’s been little explanation for his departure just a year-and-a-half after joining the online diamond retailer.

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The company stated that he “moved on to pursue his next challenge.”

“We are continuing to invest behind our strategic priorities and new capabilities to accelerate growth,” Blue Nile continued in a statement.

Eric Anderson is serving as interim CEO.

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Before joining Blue Nile, Goldberger served as chief digital officer and president of Target.com. He previously held roles with Gilt Groupe, Hayneedle and Amazon.

Blue Nile officially become a private company in February. It had previously traded on the Nasdaq. The Seattle-based company was acquired by an investor group in a $500 million deal. The investor group is made up of funds managed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC.

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852 US Jewelry Retailers Closed Their Doors in 2018

The number of closures is up from 2017’s figure.

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The Jewelers Board of Trade reports that 852 U.S. jewelry retailers stopped doing business in 2018.

That’s slightly more than the 817 businesses that closed in 2017.

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Of those, 706 fell into the category of “ceased operations,” while 122 were listed as “consolidations (sale/merger)” and 24 were classified as “bankruptcies.”

Meanwhile, 183 jewelry retail businesses opened their doors in the U.S. in 2018. That was up significantly from 131 in 2017.

Counting wholesalers and manufacturers along with retailers, 1,013 U.S. jewelry businesses closed their doors in 2018. That’s compared with 1,022 in 2017.

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The total number of jewelry retailers listed in the U.S. is now 18,974, compared with 19,823 at the end of 2017, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade.

The total number of jewelry businesses, including wholesalers and retailers, is 25,102, compared with 26,270 at the end of 2017.

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Headlines

Newly Discovered Gemstone Is Harder Than Diamond

It’s been found on Earth for the first time.

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Shefa Yamim, a precious stone exploration company in Israel, has discovered a new mineral that is harder than diamond and which has never been found on Earth before.

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The material is called carmeltazite, and it was recently approved as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification.

The mineral was named carmeltazite because of it its discovery on Mount Carmel and due to its major chemical components: titanium, aluminum and zirconium (“TAZ”), the company stated in a press release. Shefa Yamim trademarked the name “carmel sapphire” for the material.

The mineral “is a newly discovered type of corundum similar in appearance to the corundum, but unlike any other sapphire found in the world,” according to the company. The rough carmel sapphire is typically black, blue-to-green or orange-brown. The largest stone found is 33.3 carats.

The Vintage News reports that “it was previously believed that this type of mineral was only found on extraterrestrial material.”

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It’s harder than diamond and substantially rarer, “making its value extremely high,” according to the publication.

Avi Taub, CEO of Shefa Yamim, said in the release: “We are delighted that our Carmel Sapphire has been recognised as a host to many rare minerals. In today’s world where the prices of gems are determined predominantly by their rarity, the Carmel Sapphire is a unique discovery because it has not been found anywhere else in the world and was discovered by Shefa Yamim in the soil of the Holy Land. We believe this substantially increases the potential value of our ‘Gem Box’ of precious stones. The studies of Carmel Sapphire and its new minerals mark another milestone in the Company’s journey as we continue our progress towards trial mining in Zone 1 in 2019.”

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