Wedding biz set to touch new highs | The Financial Express

Wedding biz set to touch new highs

Rs 3.75-trillion spends expected in this season

Wedding biz set to touch new highs

Big, fat weddings are back after a two-year hiatus. A major rise in demand for hotel bookings, wedding planners and jewellery has set the cash registers ringing this year, as India is expected to solemnise 3.2 million weddings till December 14 with an expected trade of over Rs 3.75 trillion. Last year, around 2.5 million weddings took place in the same period and wedding expenses were estimated at Rs 3 trillion.

Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said, “In Delhi itself, 350,000 weddings will be solemnised with a business volume of Rs 75,000 crore. The 40-day wedding season till December 14 will see a good growth in the sector.” The wedding dates in November are 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 28 and 30; and in December are 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 14.

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Consequently, business queries for wedding planners have increased. “We have experienced 60% growth in online traffic, a clear indication that the number of people getting married this year is increasing,” said Anam Zubair, head of marketing, WeddingWire India, a global marketplace connecting engaged couples with local wedding professionals. “Based on an estimate of over 10-12 million weddings every year pre-Covid, the current booking scenario is expected to have a 20% increase in 2022 and 2023,” she said.

Overall expense or budget for families is also over 15% higher, and total spending increase across cities (upper middle class to HNIs) is about 12%, said Parthip Thyagarajan, co-founder & CEO, WeddingSutra, a wedding planner company.

A WedMeGood report says that average booking amounts for vendors have increased this season. On an average, vendors reported a 16% increase in business and decorators have reported a 20% increase in ticket size.

Mehak Sagar, co-founder of WedMeGood, said, “With a 40% increase in guest lists, from an average guest count of 180 guests last year, now it has increased to 270. This has regional variations, with much larger weddings happening in the south. Today, millennials value luxurious experiences like chefs flown in from different parts of the world to recreate a London bar or ‘mehndi in the stream’ where a table is set up inside a stream for a unique experience.” White weddings are big with rising western influence in India and more so in the age of minimalism, said Aashna Lalwani, co-founder, Three Entertainment, a wedding planner company.

Hotel bookings are seeing strong demand in tertiary markets. “We aim to clock 20% growth in revenue. Even though there are no restrictions, people are opting for smaller gatherings, choosing to spend more on premium food, liquor, and decor. This has translated to higher spends on weddings,” said Paritosh Ladhani, owner, Taj Hotel & Convention Centre Agra. Clarks Hotels & Resorts with a pan-India presence witnessed an increase in wedding segment by 30% with saaya dates selling almost on double rates.

“Instagrammable weddings, palace and themed resorts, and picturesque locations are doing well. Post-pandemic, most weddings are taking place in India as it is still a hassle to organise one abroad. Themed weddings are a big trend as budget is not a constraint, and Rajasthan tops the charts as a wedding destination. As compared to pre-pandemic, we expect about 30% revenue,” says Mehul Vaswani, director of hospitality, Chokhi Dhani Group, which has theme villages, and resorts in Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Indore.

Guests are focused on experiential and bespoke offerings. “They look for a hassle-free experience and want venues or wedding specialists to take care of décor and gifting,” said Vipin Khattar, GM, JW Marriott New Delhi, who sees an upward tick of more than 15% for the wedding segment.

Banquet bookings are jam-packed as there are now no restrictions and protocols. “The hotel is expected to witness a growth of 30-40% as compared to FY 21-22,” said Piyush Thapliyal, manager, banquets, The Ashok Hotel, Delhi.

The rise in demand for gold as gifting or jewellery this time is notable. The World Gold Council’s latest Gold Demand Trends report reveals that gold demand (excluding OTC) in Q3 of 2022 hit 1,181 tonne, up 28% y-o-y. Strong demand pushed the year-to-date total to its pre-Covid levels. Gold demand was bolstered by consumers and central banks, although there was a notable contraction in investment demand. Jewellery consumption reached 523 tonne — 10% higher compared to Q3 2021. Much of this growth was spearheaded by India’s urban consumers who drove up demand 17% y-o-y to 146 tonne.

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“Weddings for Indian families are quite upbeat after two years. Demand for gold across offline and online channels is big as a considerable chunk of the Indian gold demand is fuelled during the wedding season,” said Amul Kumar Saha, chief digital officer, MMTC-PAMP, a joint venture between PAMP SA Switzerland and MMTC, a Government of India undertaking. He cited an interesting trend by a consumer data intelligence report published by AxisMyIndia that more than 65% of Indians invest a part of their income in one form or other. Gold is the most popular investment category among them, with 15% of youth investing in digital gold. The demand is highest in tier-1-2 cities where digital gold is emerging as one of the preferred gold investment options, added Saha.

Consumer behaviour is also changing towards organised players. Handcrafted jewellery like layered necklaces, versatile chokers are seeing a 25% jump in sales this year, said Piyush Gupta, director, PP Jewellers by Pawan Gupta. “There is an exhaustive range of stylish, everyday jewellery available now and online shopping is further adding to the wide array available. Gold jewellery is no longer an investment, it’s a lifestyle statement,” said Saroja Yeramilli, CEO, founder, Melorra, a contemporary jewellery brand whose total revenue jumped 4.6x to Rs 364.5 crore from Rs 79 crore in FY21.

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First published on: 21-11-2022 at 17:28 IST