The Big Fat Wedding Industry in India: Recap of 2015 and outlook for 2016

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India is known for its colourful culture and weddings are the best places to observe its varied traditions. Apart from being a symbol of culture, it is fast becoming a lucrative business opportunity. With each passing year, Indian weddings are getting bigger and better, and so is the business involved, from designers, caterers to planners. As it is expanding at a break neck speed, let us have an inside look at the industry and its forces.

Statistics

The wedding industry in India is flourishing and statistics corroborate the fact. Currently, the industry is over Rs 100,000 crore and is growing at 25-30% annually. The estimated cost of a wedding with no expenses spared could be between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 5 crore, in India. A person, in India, spends one fifth of the wealth accumulated in a lifetime on a wedding ceremony.

Considering the demographic dividend, it would not be wrong to assume, with half of India's population being under 29 years of age, the marriage market is set to boom like never before over the next five to ten years.

There are several ancillary markets and segments benefiting from this boom, like Gold and diamond jewellery, apparels, decoration, makeup etc. The wedding planning industry is also booming. In Jan, 2015, the wedding planning industry was pegged at $ 40 billion.

Unique and interesting consumer trends observed in 2015 in the industry

With global trends entering the indigenous market, Indian weddings are donning a more corporate look and feel, moving away from traditional themes.

1. High degree of personalization - people spend more per guest (but call fewer guests) and try to integrate their love stories and interests in the decor, food and themes.

"Destination weddings are getting more exotic, with many weddings happening in Turkey, Europe, Sri Lanka, and more remote destinations in India," said Sanna Vohra, Founder & CEO of Indear.in

2. Modernization of ancient/ retro drapes, minimalist silhouettes, bold colors.

3. People became more & more fashion inclined, lot of experimentation, drama. Consumer spent a lot of time cross comparing

4. Mix and match, accessories, a lot of tryouts in jewelry, artisans' products. Hand-looms category grew 3x compared to last year.

"We can tell that consumers are starting to trust online websites for their wedding purchases and this trend has mainly started in 2015. We are seeing increase in buying of heavy lehengas and sarees online. With few websites starting to offer home trial etc. this trend will change further in coming years as it makes it very easy for the consumers to buy their outfits online without wasting lot of time," said Anupam Tulsyan, founder of Peachmode.

Expectations from 2016 wedding season

"We will continue to see a high degree of personalization, and also a willingness to experiment with traditions. Brides now prefer to wear gowns instead of a traditional saree to their receptions, depict their own love story on their mehendi and leave goody bags for guests in their hotel rooms to cure their hangovers. India has also started adopting a few western traditions, namely bachelor / bachelorette parties, the idea of bridesmaids, and grand wedding cakes!" said Sana.

Technology has also taken over the wedding season & so has buying habits. Lot of families & planners alike are coming online to check latest trends in this wedding season.

"For grooms we have seen a rise in Jodhpuri Sherwanis. These sherwanis are different from the traditional ones as most of them are handmade & have light colors instead of the traditional red ones," said Shailesh Jain, founder of Mirraw.com.

On the jewellery side, matte finish jewellery has seen a rise in demand. Necklaces which are heavy on gem stones are still a constant favorites amongst wedding shoppers.

Employment generation

It continues to be significant with the wedding industry growing 25-30% YoY. It adds over 3 lac jobs a year (during season)

Region wise trends PAN India

North India leads in wedding spends, Kerala weddings focus more on gold.

Though fashion and jewellery trends do differ from region to region (as does the ceremony itself) Bollywood is having a large effect on weddings across the nation, with lots of communities embracing 'dhoom-dham' sangeets, and glittery wedding outfits.

General trends basis consumer behaviour, with respect to changing demands and preferences

1. Heavy dupattas- Can be teamed up with all your monotone kurtas

2. Statement jewellery piece - Chand ballis, Maang tikkas are in vogue. You can team them up with sarees as well as salwar kameez.

3. Designer clutches - A nice clutch can add lot of glamour to your routine outfit. Pair it with simple chiffon saree or a plain kurta, it will catch everyone's attention.

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