Millennials (ages 25-34) outspend Gen Zers (ages 18-24) by 63% when it comes to buying an engagement ring. The average price paid for a ring by Millennials is $6,700, compared to $4,100 spent by their younger counterparts, according to a newly released survey by The Knot.

Across all age groups, the average spend is $6,000 — up slightly from the pre-pandemic spend in 2019 of $5,900. Ring costs varied widely depending on whether the couple was buying an engagement ring with a diamond or non-diamond center stone. The average cost of a diamond engagement ring is $6,800, versus an average of $2,500 for a ring with a colored gemstone center stone.

Roughly two out of three couples said they stuck to a set budget, while nearly 30% spent more than planned (up 9 percentage points since 2020).

The most popular type of engagement stone continues to be a diamond (86%), with round (41%) remaining the most popular cut. The wedding planning site noted that the oval shape has been enjoying a steady increase in popularity over the past six years. Only 2% preferred it in 2015, but now that number is up to 19%. 

Among the 10% of respondents who chose a non-diamond for their center stone, the most popular pick is moissanite, which now accounts for more than one-quarter of non-diamond stones (28%, +9% vs. 2019). Moissanite is even more popular among Gen Zers (35%).

Nearly one in four engagement rings in 2021 featured a center stone that was lab-grown. That number is up from 11% in 2019.

The Knot also said that bridal couple’s precious-metal preferences are trending away from white gold. Forty-five percent purchased white gold rings in 2021, compared to 61% in 2017.  Yellow gold has increased in popularity by 11 percentage points since 2017.

What’s more, The Knot reported that while online channels, such as social media and jewelry websites, continue to be the leading resource for ring research and inspiration, proposers value the importance of in-store shopping. Exactly 67% of engagement rings were purchased in-store, with half of in-store purchases happening at local jewelers in 2021.

Proposers said they visited two to three retailers and checked out 10 rings on average — in-store — before purchasing. 

More than 90% of couples announced their engagement on social media, with Instagram (78%) and Facebook (77%) being the most popular, and 20% of couples announced on Snapchat. Of those who got engaged in 2021, more than 75% have already set a date for 2022, with fall being the most popular season. 

Of the nearly three in four engagements taking place outdoors this year, 35% occurred at a scenic spot, such as a mountain top or a place with a city view. Nearly one in three engagements took place during a planned trip, up 7% from last year when many trips had to be canceled because of COVID restrictions.

“The Knot 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study” reflects the impressions of more than 5,000 respondents who got engaged from January through November 2021. 

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