Mumbai: Indian weddings which have a penchant for lavish spending, are attracting corporates across a clutch of industries, transforming the wedding services industry into a more organized business.
Firms are making substantial investments in the segment to offer services spanning the entire gamut of the matrimonial business from matchmaking and entertainment to insurance.
“It is one time no one minds spending,” says Manjunath Jyothinagar, president, business development, Gitanjali group, which is investing Rs1 bn over the next three years in wedding-theme malls and luxury retail.
He expects family spends of Rs1-2 mn each on jewellery and designer brands at these malls, where group firm Gitanjali Gems Ltd will house its retail jewellery.
“If you want to be in the jewellery business, you must cater for weddings,” said V Govindraj, vice-president, retail and marketing, Tanishq, pegging about 40-60% of India’s jewellery revenues to weddings and festivals.
Tanishq is owned by Titan Industries Ltd. which derived more than half its revenue from jewellery sales in FY07. Real-estate developer Omaxe Ltd., which has filed initial listing documents with the market regulator, is building three wedding malls slated for completion by end-2007.
Non-traditional businesses also see an opportunity here. Companies like People Interactive (I) Pvt. Ltd. offers match-making services through its portal shaadi.com and ‘ShaadiPoint´ retail chain which is expanding to 400 outlets from the existing 150 in the next 18 months.
“It’s a very large industry, easily upwards of $10 million if not more, and 99.9 % of it is unorganized,” says Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Mittal. Catering to this demand are also other matchmaking websites like jeevansathi, promoted by Info Edge (India) Ltd and bharatmatrimony.com.
Insurance provider Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has introduced wedding policies to cover losses due to postponements or cancellations due to fire or other accidents. Weddings bring in 65% of its banqueting revenues, said Srinidhi Rao, COO, Ghai Enterprises, adding it plans to have nine halls from the existing three by end-2007.