Active Stocks
Fri Sep 29 2023 15:59:14
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 129 1.78%
  1. NTPC share price
  2. 245.65 3.3%
  1. Power Grid Corporation Of India share price
  2. 199.85 -0.45%
  1. State Bank Of India share price
  2. 598.7 1.48%
  1. Wipro share price
  2. 406.25 0.11%
Business News/ Companies / Start-ups/  ‘India has 25% of the world’s weddings’

‘India has 25% of the world’s weddings’

Timothy Chi, global chief executive of The Knot Worldwide said one in every four weddings worldwide happens in India and with Indians raising their spends on weddings, companies like his are very bullish on this market

Timothy Chi, global chief executive of The Knot Worldwide.Premium
Timothy Chi, global chief executive of The Knot Worldwide.

As the wedding industry stages a post-covid rebound, Timothy Chi, global chief executive of The Knot Worldwide, which runs the wedtech platform WeddingWire India, said one in every four weddings worldwide happens in India and with Indians raising their spends on weddings, companies like his are very bullish on this market. In an interview, Chi said budgets of Indian weddings remain strong. Edited excerpts:

How did covid shape the wedding industry?

The wedding industry went through a very tough period everywhere, which is not surprising, but we characterize covid as the largest pause button ever pressed on the wedding industry because in the end, we knew people would still get married; they just weren’t actually able to get married during that time. And then 2022 saw the largest number of pent-up wedding demand that ever happened in the industry.

Have Indians become different in how they plan their weddings?

Couples now in India are taking a little bit more of a lead role than we’ve seen before. I think that was part of one of the things that accelerated during covid since they started to use digital platforms or wedtech.

During the pandemic, everyone universally was forced to figure out how to get married, or just push it off. In India, probably 70% of weddings still ended up kind of happening in some way, shape or form. But in the US, this was about 50% and a lot of them came back later and did at least one celebratory function. Our view is that in 2023, the number of weddings will come back to normal across the globe.

Are Indians spending the same way on weddings as they did pre-pandemic?

We’re seeing the average size of weddings has come down but the budgets are staying the same. We say the big fat Indian wedding is still here, but it’s fat in different ways now. People are spending the same amount but in smaller, more experiential ways, elevating that guest experience with more personalization and customization.

How important is the Indian market for wedtech companies like yours?

India has 25% of the world’s weddings. That means one out of four weddings on earth happens here. That is just to give you a sense of scale, right? China and India represent half of the world’s weddings. So we have plenty of room to run and we’re obviously very excited about it.

Which cities are you seeing the maximum interest?

We’re seeing a lot of that technology adoption, not just from Delhi and Mumbai and Bengaluru, but other places too. So we’re trying to really build the supply base right now to make sure that when couples are looking for wedding vendors, we are their first choice. Places like Jaipur, Udaipur and Goa aren’t just seeing wedding demand from their own cities but also are feeder markets for other cities where people are looking to plan destination weddings.

Does that mean Indians will continue to shrink wedding guest lists?

Well, the average guest count used to be 350-400 before covid. But right now, it’s like 250 or so. But budgets are still healthy right now because even though guest lists have shrunk, people are choosing from more options on where they want to go to do their weddings and many of them are picking resort or destination weddings where they can spend the same or similar amount of money on fewer guests.

In India, a lot of the wedding industry works on black money. How does a wedtech platform go about helping regulate that?

The way that we feel like we contribute to the greater good of the wedding industry is by having a strong review mechanism because ultimately, couples want to know and trust whom they’re booking. So that kind of our role in not being in the transaction, but around it and we try to benefit the wedding industry as a whole on both sides of the market.

Has the global recession and inflation in any way had an adverse impact on the sector?

Look, weddings, we characterize as ‘recession resistant’. People don’t say ‘let’s never get married’ but instead about how to do things in a different way. So the shortcut is, you know, budgets tend to get cut 10% by shrinking guest lists, but never say 50%. No one wants to sacrifice that much for their big day. So we have generally estimated a 10-15% contraction in wedding budgets during this time.

And inflation?

Inflation has absolutely impacted the wedding industry. The supplier costs, food, the manufacturing supply chain; everything has been impacted and costs are on the rise for couples and it would be difficult to calculate but I would say at least upwards of 10%. In India, the vendors who list with us are reporting something like a 20% increase in their revenue, year-over-year in 2022, which I take as a sign of inflation costs rising that much.

Did the hotel and other costs also become expensive here?

Yes, even the hotel costs and venue costs are up because there has also been a supply constraint. With pent-up demand, globally as well, there were lots of Monday weddings and Thursday weddings, because the supply couldn’t absorb all the extra demand.

Has the wedding purse shrunk globally?

Globally, I think people want to spend money on weddings. Generally speaking, this industry follows the travel and hospitality industry, which has seen all-time high rates. In the wedding industry too, things have become more expensive, but people are willing to spend money on these types of experiences.

"Exciting news! Mint is now on WhatsApp Channels 🚀 Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest financial insights!" Click here!

Varuni Khosla
Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
More Less
Updated: 10 Mar 2023, 10:55 PM IST
Next Story
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App