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08/30/2011: 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Statistics Released By TheKnot.com & WeddingChannel.com

-- Second Engagement & Jewelry Survey of its Kind Provides New Engagement Ring Statistics and In-Depth Insight into Purchasing Behavior and the Luxury Engagement Ring Market --

NEW YORK (August 30, 2011) – XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO; xogroupinc.com), formerly The Knot Inc., a global media and technology leader with the top two wedding websites, TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, today released the results of its 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. The most definitive report on engagement and jewelry statistics, the 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study from The Knot Market Intelligence, a research division of XO Group Inc., tracks the $11 billion engagement ring and wedding jewelry market by capturing detailed feedback on engagement ring details and spending, the search and purchasing process and the wedding ring market.

“Jewelry is a significant part of the wedding experience and the 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study provides unparalleled insight into the multibillion-dollar industry,” said Kristyn Clement, Senior Director of The Knot Market Intelligence at XO Group Inc. “TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com are the leading resources reaching the overwhelming majority of brides in the U.S. today, making us the only source able to provide this level of detailed information to retailers hoping to better understand the decision-making process of today’s brides and grooms when it comes to the engagement ring.”

2011 AVERAGE ENGAGEMENT RING & WEDDING RING STATISTICS

  • Engagement Ring Cost: $5,200
  • Carat Size: 1 carat for center stone; 1.4 carats total stones
  • Most Popular Engagement Ring Shapes: Round (53%) and Princess (30%)
  • Most Popular Engagement Ring Metal: 73% of rings are made of white gold
  • Time It Takes for Groom to Find Engagement Ring: 3 months
  • Wedding Band Cost: $1,126 for brides; $491 for grooms
  • Most Popular Wedding Band Metal: For brides, 70% are white gold; for grooms, 34% are white gold
  • The Luxury Ring Segment: About 12% of couples spend more than $8,000 on the engagement ring
  • Luxury Engagement Ring Cost: $13,500
  • Luxury Engagement Ring Carat Size: 1.5 carats for center stone; more than 2 carats total stones
  • Luxury Wedding Ring Cost: $1,560 for brides; $731 for grooms

KEY 2011 JEWELRY & PROPOSAL TRENDS

Majority of Grooms’ Ring Selection Not Affected by the Economy. Only 14% of grooms claimed to have downsized the engagement ring due to the economic climate. In fact, one in four grooms spent more than he originally budgeted. However, they are spending less than couples did a few years ago. On average, couples are spending just under $5,200 on the ring (compared with $5,800 for couples engaged in 2008).

Luxury Ring Segment Spends an Average of $13,500. Although round diamonds are the most popular cut for brides overall, they’re even more popular with luxury ring brides (57% versus 53% of the non luxury segment). However, cushion-cut diamonds are a trending favorite among luxury ring brides (8% versus 3% for non luxury segment). Nationwide, the luxury segment tends to be older, lives in the Northeast and is more traditional — nearly 80% of grooms asked the bride’s parents for permission before proposing.

Customization Is Key, Especially for Luxury Ring Couples. Whether they completely designed the ring on their own with a jeweler or made custom changes to an existing design, approximately two out of five grooms (41%) are choosing to add personal elements to the engagement ring. Customization is even more popular with the Luxury Ring segment as more than half (59%) choose to incorporate custom design elements.

Alternative Metals Increasingly Popular for Grooms. Although white gold is still the most popular wedding band metal, with approximately one in three grooms (34%) choosing it, alternative metals are becoming increasingly popular. In 2011, 27% of grooms chose tungsten (up from 19% for grooms married in 2008) and 16% chose titanium (up from 13% for grooms married in 2008).

Where Are Grooms Buying? Approximately two in five grooms (39%) purchased at least part of the ring from a local or independent jeweler, while one in three (35%) purchased at least part of the ring from a national jewelry chain. And nearly 1 out of 10 grooms (9%) purchased from an online retailer. No matter where it’s purchased, are brides helping pick their own ring? Yes. The majority of brides are at least somewhat involved in the ring selection (65%), with nearly a third (31%) ‘very involved’ — that is, they shopped for and/or purchased the ring with their groom. Additionally, 21% of brides will actually visit a retailer in-person without her fiancé, a decrease from 30% for brides engaged in 2008.

Tradition Is Making a Comeback. The majority of grooms are taking tradition to heart when they propose. In fact, 77% of grooms proposed on bended knee (compared with 70% in 2009) and 71% asked the bride’s parents for permission (compared with 62% of grooms engaged in 2008) before popping the question.

Proposals are Becoming More Public. While a proposal’s always a private moment, they’re increasingly becoming more public affairs. In 2009, 68% of grooms proposed privately, while that number dropped to just over half (57%) in 2011. Perhaps that’s why 43% of grooms meticulously planned the proposal down to the last detail and only 10% of grooms “winged” it.

Man-gagement Rings Are the New Trend. Brides aren’t the only ones with engagement rings these days. Grooms are now opting to wear “man-gagement” rings; 5% of grooms wear an engagement ring along with the bride.

About The Knot Market Intelligence 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study
More than 10,000 qualified brides and 1,000 qualified grooms — of mixed ethnicities, education and income levels — were polled across 50 states. Proposal and engagement ring questions were asked of both brides and grooms in the recently engaged group while wedding band and jewelry questions were asked of brides in the recently married group. All qualified respondents:

  • Were 18 or older
  • U.S. Brides
  • Engaged Segment — engaged in between March 2010 and February 2011
  • Married Segment —married between March 2010 and February 2011
  • U.S. Grooms —engaged in between March 2010 and February 2011

The survey was fielded in February 2011 and was administered by Digital Research Inc. on behalf of The Knot Market Intelligence Group.

Topline data highlights from The Knot Market Intelligence 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Study are available at xogroupinc.com/tkmi, while complete custom analyses and reports are available for purchase by contacting insights@xogrp.com.

About XO Group Inc.
XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO; xogroupinc.com), formerly The Knot Inc., is a global media and technology leader devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives. Our family of premium brands began with the number one wedding brand, The Knot, and has grown to include WeddingChannel.com, The Nest, The Bump and Ijie.com. XO Group is recognized by the industry for being innovative in all media — from the web to social media and mobile apps, magazines and books, and video — and our groundbreaking social platforms have ignited passionate communities across the world. XO Group has leveraged its customer loyalty into successful businesses in online sponsorship and advertising, registry services, ecommerce and publishing. The company is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange (XOXO) and is headquartered in New York City.

CONTACT: Stephanie Fraiman
Associate Public Relations Manager
XO Group Inc.
(212) 219-8555 x1228
sfraiman@xogrp.com

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