How millennials and Gen-Z couples are driving growth in the wedding industry

The wedding industry is booming despite pandemic challenges, offering growth opportunities for hotels and vendors

Varuni Khosla
First Published11 Jun 2024
Rising costs have led many to revise their wedding budgets, with 53% of surveyed couples adjusting their plans due to added expenses
Rising costs have led many to revise their wedding budgets, with 53% of surveyed couples adjusting their plans due to added expenses(Pixabay)

New Delhi: India's wedding industry is booming, powered by financially independent millennials and Gen-Z couples who are increasingly dictating their budgets for the big day.

This surge is driven by larger guest lists and rising costs, with couples personalising traditional and modern elements to suit their preferences, contributing to a more dynamic seller market, said Anam Zubair, director of consumer marketing at wedding planner WeddingWire India.

The average cost of Indian weddings reached 28 lakh in 2023, a 12% increase from the previous year, according to a report by WeddingWire India of The Knot Worldwide's, a global technology company that provides content, tools, products and services for couples. To be sure, the use of technology in wedding planning, or the "wedtech" industry is also seeing higher adoption rates.

Rising costs have led many to revise their wedding budgets, with 53% of surveyed couples adjusting their plans due to added expenses. This underscores the need for comprehensive financial planning early in the process.

Despite a brief post-pandemic trend towards smaller weddings, 59% of couples opted for large weddings in 2023, with guest lists averaging over 300, up 14% from the previous year.

This contrasts with average guest lists in the US and UK, which are 115 and 80, respectively, highlighting the grand scale of Indian wedding, it added. Only 12% chose intimate ceremonies.

Mint had earlier reported that wedding costs have seen a sharp increase in the last two years post the pandemic period.

Most business categories in the wedding value chain have seen an increase in cost with some going up far more than others.

Catering expenses surged by 25-27%, with specialized catering costs rising even higher due to food inflation. Flower prices increased by 5-7% due to seasonality and demand, while furniture and labor costs doubled and tripled from the previous year.

India hosts a quarter of the world's weddings

India hosts 25% of the world's weddings, according to Timothy Chi, global chief executive of The Knot Worldwide. Combined with China, the two countries account for half of the world's weddings, presenting significant growth opportunities. The industry saw a return to normalcy in 2023.

Couples in India are taking more control over their weddings than ever before following the rise in digital wedding platforms and the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. The report added that this shift towards digital tools is expected to continue, empowering couples to plan their weddings.

Hospitality and travel companies have also benefited from the ever-growing wedding market. For instance, data from real estate consultancy JLL India's hotels and hospitality division suggests that during the last quarter of the financial year FY24, the demand for hotel rooms in both business and leisure destinations soared because of the wedding season in January.

WedMeGood, another wed-tech company, noted that the Indian wedding industry, though primarily unorganized, is growing at a healthy 7-8% CAGR and likely touched $75 billion in the 2023-24 wedding season.

Increased disposable income and consumer purchasing power have driven more luxury wedding purchases and elevated vendors within the value chain. However, the true size of India's wedding industry is hard to gauge due to a significant portion of transactions happening in cash.

Also read: What should men wear for a summer wedding?

 

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