September 19, 2011, 2:52 PM

Stores still register most engagement ring sales

A survey finds that only 9% of grooms bought rings from an e-retailer.

Lead Photo

Most engagement ring components come from stores.

When it comes to buying engagement rings, stores still rule.

Fewer than one out of 10 grooms, or about 9%, purchased engagement rings from an online retailer in the past year, says a 2011 survey from TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com. 39% of buyers obtained at least components of the ring from a local or independent jeweler, while 35% purchased at least part of the ring from a national jewelry chain.

The remainder bought engagement rings from a range of sources, led by luxury jewelers (4%), local wholesalers (4%) and department stores (3%). Other sources included big-box retailers, antique/pawn shops or estate sales, and other consumers or auction web sites. Multiple answers were possible.

The 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study, which surveyed more than 10,000 U.S. brides and 1,000 U.S. grooms engaged or married in the past year, is from The Knot Market Intelligence, a research division of XO Group. XO Group, formerly The Knot Inc., is the media company and e-retailer behind the wedding sites TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com. The Knot is No. 352 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The Knot Market Intelligence tracks the $11 billion engagement ring and wedding jewelry market by capturing detailed feedback on engagement ring design and spending, the search and purchasing process, and the wedding ring market.

The survey found that only 14% of grooms claimed to have reduced spending on the engagement ring due to the economic climateOne in four grooms spent more than originally budgeted. But couples are spending less on rings than a few years ago—an average of just less than $5,200, compared with $5,800 in 2008.

Whether they completely designed the ring on their own with a jeweler or made custom changes to an existing design, about 41% of grooms added personal elements to the engagement ring. Customization was even more popular with those who bought luxury rings—engagement rings costing more than $8,000—with 59% choosing to incorporate custom design elements.

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