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Long-term Threats to Marriage Jewelry Markets


Long-term threats to marriage jewelry markets

Flexible life course

Marriage has become just one of a number of lifestyle choices available to adults. Marriage is still very popular but an increasing number of adults are never marrying.

By 2020, at least half of adult women in America will not be married. Only 51.5 percent of women
ages 18 and over were in a marital relationship in 2013.

Diamond dream less potent

More than 74 percent of Americans have experienced sexual intercourse by their twentieth birthday. Conversely, less than 4 percent of Americans are married by their twentieth birthday. The median age for first sexual intercourse for Americans is 17.8 years while the median age at first marriage for women is 26.6 years and 29 years for men.

Having had more relationship experiences prior to marriage also means more experience breaking up. A history of multiple breakups may make people take a more jaundiced view of love and relationships.

For many decades, the presentation of a diamond to a woman has been marketed as the ultimate symbol of love. A diamond represents a promise to cherish for a lifetime. Therefore, diamond equity is at its strongest when young men and women still believe in the purity and authenticity of love, before the inevitable changing circumstances of life have introduced cynicism in their hearts.

However, with marriage forfeited or delayed, diamond equity is devalued a little each time when young men and young women fall out of love with one lover to fall in love with another as they chase other life goals. To borrow from diamond industry speak, each new lover picked up along the way is an inclusion added to the heart - the original pure diamond.

When the time for marriage eventually comes later on in life, the love present and circumstances are often different from those symbolized by a diamond. Therefore, the diamond ring can often be excluded altogether from the marriage equation.

Deteriorating economic position of young adults

Young adults at the life stage for marriage (25-34) are taking longer to finish their education and stabilize their work lives. Labour force participation rates for emerging adults are in long-term decline. Add to this, earning clout in labor markets has shifted to the second half of the life cycle.

Exhibit 11-8: Typical income growth trend for men working full-time

Typical income growth trend for men working full-time

Source: Equity Communications

Typically, the average earnings of a man increase by 129 percent from the moment he enters the labor market full-time at age 25 until they peak at age 55. Much of the growth in earnings typically occurs 

before the age of 45. However, incomes of new cohorts entering the labor market are stalling early.

Moreover, high student loan balances are worsening the situation. The share of twenty-five-year-olds with student debt continued to increase in 2013, as the group‘s average student loan balance reached $20,926.

For those twenty-five-year-olds with student loans, student debt now comprises 69 percent of the debt side of their balance sheets.

Young people struggling economically delay spending on the ?heavy-hitter? goods that traditionally signify coming of age – weddings, cars, and independent housing. Spending on these heavy hitter goods triggers spending on other complementary goods like new furniture and even baby food.

The bottom-line is that each succeeding generation of young people is now poised to take longer to stabilize work lives than the generation before it. Thirty is the new twenty-five.

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