Wedding services largely unorganised, this presents good opportunity for us: Murugavel Janakiraman

By: | Published: May 31, 2018 5:37 AM

The journey to become India’s largest and most trusted matrimony service has been good and fulfilling. We are quite excited about the journey ahead.

To increase its share further, the company will add more services and formats to its offerings to be a comprehensive player, apart from expanding its footprint nationally in a big way, says Matrimony.com founder and CEO Murugavel Janakiraman in an interview with FE’s R Ravichandran.

India’s leading online matrimony service provider, Matrimony.com (an arm of BharatMatrimony), is bullish on the opportunities the $54-billion industry throws. Being the market leader on the online service side — which only accounts for 6% of the industry, Matrimony.com sees that with internet penetration fast expanding into semi-urban and rural areas, there is going to be exponential growth in the online format. To increase its share further, the company will add more services and formats to its offerings to be a comprehensive player, apart from expanding its footprint nationally in a big way, says Matrimony.com founder and CEO Murugavel Janakiraman in an interview with FE’s R Ravichandran. Excerpts:

What has been the size and growth of the wedding industry and online matrimonial industry in India over the last five years (both volume and value)?

The wedding services industry is worth about $56 billion. As per market reports, the matchmaking and wedding industry has been growing steadily between 25% and 30% every year. About 10 to 12 million marriages are taking place annually in India and with only 6% of the market going online to find a life partner, there is a huge opportunity for matchmaking services.

The changing dynamics of the wedding business over the years and its impact on the prospective customers?

The wedding services industry is largely unorganised and that presents a good opportunity for an organised player like Matrimony.com. Some years ago, consumers struggled to find quality wedding services, be it wedding photography, discovering reliable mandaps online and more. Today they have MatrimonyPhotography, MatrimonyMandaps, MatrimonyBazaar from a trusted brand like BharatMatrimony. The consumer today has trusted, reliable and quality wedding services to choose from.

How has your journey been till now, and what are the challenges you have been facing?

We started as a community site in 1997 and today Matrimony.com has gone on to be publicly listed in the stock exchange in 2017. The journey to become India’s largest and most trusted matrimony service has been good and fulfilling. We are quite excited about the journey ahead. Only 6% of those looking for a match are online, but with the internet fast expanding in India, the numbers are expected to grow for both matchmaking and wedding services. Where do you stand in the industry, including market share, among other aspects? We’ve been a pioneer in online matchmaking and Matrimony.com is the market leader with a 60% share in online matchmaking. Nearly 3.72 million profiles were added in FY18.

How did you perform in the just-ended fiscal 2018 and where do you see yourself in terms of growth (volume and value)?

Matrimony.com’s consolidated PAT for the fiscal 2018 was up by 72% at Rs 74 crore. The company has achieved a consolidated revenue of Rs 335.54 crore for the year. There were 745,000 paid subscribers during 2017-18 and 108,000 success stories were reported during the year. We believe that the actual number of success stories would be much higher.

What are the expansion plans of Matrimony.com, if any?

Looking at the $56-billion wedding services market that is largely unorganised, we will continue to expand our wedding photography and videography service, MatrimonyPhotography, wedding venue discovery platform, MatrimonyMandaps and assisted service MatrimonyBazaar to other regions.

What are the new marriage services of Matrimony.com and what is the market potential?

As I said earlier, the wedding services industry is huge. However, the majority of the categories of marriage services in India are unorganised and highly fragmented, presenting a potential opportunity for an organised aggregator like Matrimony.com to provide these services. In this regard, we have leveraged our brands, user activity on our platforms and our online matchmaking client base to diversify into marriage services to take advantage of the lack of organised services in this fragmented market.

MatrimonyPhotography.com provides professional photography and videography services in the south. MatrimonyMandaps.com, a wedding venue discovery platform, helps customers find the right venue for their wedding. MatrimonyBazaar.com helps customers in availing wedding-related services such as wedding apparel, venue, stage decorations, photography, make-up, catering and honeymoon packages from various vendors to meet customers’ wedding needs. Customers have to subscribe to the service. The company then assists the member with a relationship manager who suggests services to them based on their needs and budget.

Your comments on the fast-growing personalised matchmaking services like EliteMatrimony and Assisted Matrimony?

There is a large market in India for personalised matchmaking services. Pioneered in 2008, EliteMatrimony is an exclusive matchmaking service for the rich and affluent. It’s a discreet and confidential service offered by trained relationship managers who handpick matches based on status and lifestyle of members, and also facilitate meetings with prospective partners. It has India’s largest database of elite profiles. Our assisted service too is doing well.

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