Although the COVID-19 pandemic put the world on pause, there was one aspect of life that was seen speeding up- relationships. With the guidelines for social distancing set in place, people had to become very selective about who they kept in their small bubble. Naturally, a lot of people ended up spending this time with their significant others. Since people were spending more time than they ever would before the pandemic with their partners, feelings began developing at a lighting pace. In the blink of an eye, it seemed as though everyone was getting into very serious relationships.
Shifting Timelines and Online Dating
When people start a new relationship, the first thought isn’t to move in together. Most people will wait at least a full year before discussing moving plans, but the COVID-19 pandemic shifted that timeline. Many couples who had started dating right before quarantine started ended up moving in together, which they wouldn’t have if COVID-19 didn’t exist. Having to spend almost every waking moment with your partner created two scenarios: you either get engaged really quickly, or you break up really quickly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed people’s opinions on online dating, since during quarantine our phones became the only connection we had to others. According to a survey conducted by the dating application Bumble during the pandemic, 91% of Americans think there is no longer a stigma when it comes to meeting a romantic partner through a dating application and 2 out of 3 also believe you could fall in love without ever meeting a person in the flesh.
Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic change people’s views on online dating, but it changed their views on dating in general as well. A lot of people were looking for companionship during the lonely times brought upon by quarantine and a lot were also becoming more introspective by evaluating whether or not they wanted a relationship at all. With times so uncertain, many people started to realize what was most important in life, and that was all of our interpersonal relationships that we lost during quarantine.
In addition to the rising popularity and acceptance of dating apps, the COVID-19 pandemic also engendered a lot of marriage proposals. With the usual relationship timelines out the window, the process of getting engaged and planning a wedding is speeding up as well. With so much uncertainty caused by the pandemic, people wanted one thing to be certain about in their lives- their life partner.
COVID-19 and the Jewelry Industry
Before the pandemic swept across the globe, researchers estimated that the jewelry industry would reach $480.5 billion by the year 2025. During the pandemic, most luxury spending significantly decreased, which caused a 25% dip in retail sales in 2020. Fortunately, the online jewelry industry saw no signs of stopping, with 30% of people in a recent poll stating that they purchased much more jewelry during the pandemic. The same survey also found that 49% of consumers bought as much jewelry as they did pre-coronavirus, while only 21% purchased less.
Although most brick-and mortar stores were closed for many months during quarantine, 39% of those surveyed actually admitted that spending so much time at home inspired them to purchase even more jewelry- this could have something to do with virtual meetings, as 41% stated that they wanted to wear jewelry that could be seen during these online discussions.
This survey also discovered that people are looking to buy quality items, as the pandemic has sort of shifted people’s mentalities and priorities from more superficial and materialistic things to more deep and meaningful things. 48% of those surveyed said they were buying jewelry for a special occasion and 39% said that they were purchasing rings specifically. These statistics match up perfectly with the wedding boom that we are currently in.
In 2021, the jewelry industry saw one of its best years ever, the overall American jewelry market is expected to shrink by 10-20% in 2022, although experts predict that the market will gradually normalize and return back to its 3% annual increase.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a lot of couples to postpone their upcoming nuptials, experts are predicting that 2022 and 2023 will feature a “wedding boom.” In 2022, we are expected to hit 2.5 million weddings this year, which is the highest number seen since 1984 and more than double the amount seen in 2021 (1.9 million weddings). This figure also tops the 2.1 million weddings that occurred in 2019, the year before the pandemic.
Although there were many reports detailing the increase of engagements during the lockdowns that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers believe that the large spike in weddings is mostly due to events that were postponed. Because of this, it’s hard to determine whether or not there was actual growth when it comes to weddings or if these statistics are purely circumstantial.
Circumstantial or not, the wedding boom has contributed to the sale of jewelry tremendously. This wedding boom has also influenced photography industry, both in terms of jewelry photographers and wedding photographers. Since so many weddings had to be postponed in 2020, jewelry and wedding photographers have become incredibly busy in 2021 and 2022.
While some photographers are seeing an increase in sales now that the pandemic has mostly ceased, its no secret that the pandemic actually had a quite negative impact on wedding photographers. Jewelry photographers weren’t as affected, since the online jewelry industry saw such a significant and people need pictures to determine if they like a piece of jewelry or not. On the other hand, wedding photographers have seen quite a turnover in this job and now that weddings are happening again, the influx of wedding photographers fighting for work is making the competition incredibly fierce.