De Beers Embarks on Ambitious Five-Year Plan to Lead the Luxury Jewellery Market

De Beers, the renowned diamond producer currently under the umbrella of Anglo American and now up for sale, has unveiled an ambitious five-year strategy aimed at transforming itself into the premier jewellery brand in the global market
De Beers Embarks on Ambitious Five-Year Plan to Lead the Luxury Jewellery Market

Already a key player in the diamond retail sector with boutiques worldwide, CEO Al Cook plans to significantly expand De Beers’ retail presence to rival luxury giants such as Tiffany and Cartier. Cook envisions a future where De Beers evolves from a mining-focused company into a leading jewellery house, leveraging its storied legacy and market influence.

"Diamonds' future extends far beyond mining," Cook shared with the Financial Times. "I'm thrilled by the potential to execute our comprehensive strategy, aspiring to establish the world's most prestigious jewellery maison—a vision that transcends traditional mining company boundaries."

Central to this transformation is De Beers' "Origins" strategy, which aims to drive demand for mined diamonds by appealing to a new generation of consumers. This initiative includes revitalizing marketing efforts and adopting innovative techniques to enhance the brand’s reach and impact.

De Beers is also pivoting away from lab-grown diamonds, ending a six-year venture under its Lightbox brand. While the current inventory of lab-grown stones will continue to be sold over the next year, the company is charting a future focused exclusively on natural diamonds.

Strategic Retail Collaborations

Key to De Beers’ strategy is strengthening relationships with retail partners. The success of the "Seize the Day" campaign, launched in September 2023 and supported by over 22,000 retail stores, underscores the importance of these collaborations. Future plans include forging strategic alliances with major retailers, exemplified by partnerships with Signet Jewelers in the United States and Chow Tai Fook in China.

De Beers' retail footprint already includes the Forevermark brand, available in more than 2,400 stores, as well as dedicated boutiques in 16 markets, including prominent locations like Madison Avenue in New York City and the Houston Galleria. The brand’s online presence is also significant through the De Beers Jewellers website.

Adapting to Market Challenges

The past two years have posed challenges for diamond miners, with rising consumer preference for affordable lab-grown diamonds and economic instability impacting demand. According to the World Diamond Council, consumer demand in key markets like China and the US—accounting for half of the global diamond jewellery market—declined last year.

In response, De Beers made substantial price cuts in January, reducing diamond prices by approximately 10% to revive sales. The company also adjusted its production forecast in April, lowering the expected output to 26-29 million carats from the initial 29-32 million. Additionally, production costs were revised up to $90 per carat from $80.

Despite these challenges, De Beers is aiming for annual core profits of $1.5 billion by 2028, a significant leap from last year’s $72 million. Historically, the company's profits have fluctuated between $500 million and $1.5 billion, reflecting the cyclical nature of the diamond industry.

Having operated independently for most of its 136-year history, De Beers appears poised to reclaim its standalone status. Anglo American acquired an 85% stake in De Beers in 2011, with the remaining shares held by the government of Botswana.

Diamond World