Mehndiwalis, caterers, photographers, decorators, designers, dancers and of course those harried wedding planners...phew! The Great Indian Wedding has inspired a whole new breed of businesses...
What’s common between Subrata Roy, L.N. Mittal, Laloo Prasad Yadav and Sant Chatwal? They organised weddings for their children in a manner which left the world gasping! Not just business tycoons, even ordinary folk today want the moon for the wedding of their young ones. Right from the wedding card to the ‘thank you card’ everything is done in a lavish manner – opening the doors for many business activities.
The Indian wedding today is turning into a big industry. It’s currently estimated at Rs.50000 crore, and is all set to grow by approximately 25% annually. If you are a creative entrepreneur, this is one industry which is very lucrative to work in. The customer is in a spending mood. You could charge a ridiculously large amount – if you have something unique to offer. The wedding ceremony is one day when no one is bothered about ‘return on investments’. According to some, it is the only ‘recession-free’ industry in India, spawning a gamut of new businesses and new entrepreneurs. In fact, almost every industry is today looking at weddings to give a boost to their business. Be it hotels, tent wallahs, dress designers or caterers, every one is doing their best and growing and gaining from the ubiquitous wedding. Considering the fact that around 1 crore couples get married every year, there is a huge demand for all marriage related services, and a huge opportunity for one to churn out a great career. Let’s look at how so many varied businesses are booming as we go about tying the nuptial knot.
Online and marriages
Today it’s no more astrologers or priests or your aunty in Canada who are fixing up marriages. A lot is happening on matrimonial websites. Today matrimonial websites have become the best way to find that perfect match. Shaadi.com has 7 million members and gets 8 million page views a day. No wonder advertisers are flocking in to promote their goods on these sites. The users of these sites are highly focused – their specific purpose is to start a family and they are looking for information that will help them do it. Maruti Alto, IFB, LG and ORRA jewellery found how profitable it was advertising and promoting their goods on these websites. Not just Indians one can reach out to a large chunk of NRI’s through these sites (since around 30% of the users are NRI’s). So, in effect, it is profitable to start a matrimonial website and also to advertise on it!
Careers and marriages
Thanks to heavily promoted celebrity weddings, today every couple wants something new and different as they say “I do”, and the trend has opened up a whole lot of new businesses and careers. Back in the 90’s a specialisation in ‘wedding management’ was something to be smirked at. Today it is a profitable career.
Trousseau and gift packing is a profession where one can charge anywhere between Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 lakh!!
Wedding planners are the new breed of hot professionals who promise to give you whatever you want to make the D-day your most memorable one. They come in all shape and sizes – from J.Lo in the Wedding Planner to Dubey in Monsoon Wedding – you can choose whoever you want. Be it a beach wedding or a skydiving wedding or a fairytale wedding – you ask for it, they will do it.
Every wedding ceremony is a business opportunity. Rajendra Singh was a poor kathak dancer living in Mumbai a few years back. Today he is a ‘Masterji’ who jet sets around the world teaching nubile women to dance to Dola Re for sangeet ceremonies. Similarly, Chandraprakash Agle, grew up in a slum and today exports mandaps to NRI’s in UK and the US.
The Best Guests Centre, based in Jodhpur even supplies guests in case you are running short of them – to make the wedding look grand! £10 for fair skinned English-speaking ones and £6 for Hindi-speaking ones!
Even the real estate biggies are being lured by the grand wedding market. Omaxe Construction has opened a mega mall to cater to this insatiable consumer. Wedding malls and wedding exhibitions are growing at a very fast pace. Bridal Asia started as a small exhibition. Today it’s the subcontinent’s largest wedding exhibition and a one-stop-shop for prospective brides and grooms. Today wedding festivals are booming and are a sure shot way to boost business. Not just Bridal Asia, you now have Vivah, the Marwar Mega Wedding show and many more.
After all a wedding is the most anticipated event and everyone wants the best. So all you young & dynamic entrepreneurs – look around. As two people take the saat-pheras you too could be tying the knot with a bright future...
Tourism and Wedding
Kerela was once known for its awesome backwaters and beaches. Today it’s a popular wedding destination and Kerala tourism is planning to promote it as an exotic locale for wedding ceremonies, to attract international tourists. Udaipur is offering heritage palace-hotels for a memorable once-in-a-lifetime ‘Royal Wedding’. NRIs are a big market for these destination weddings, the most popular being Goa, Agra and Varanasi, among others.
Today approximately 5,000 international weddings take place every year. An average NRI wedding organised in India costs Rs.50 lakh and could go up to Rs.3 crore easily. Laxmi Mittal spent $55 million for his daughter’s wedding. From Elizabeth Hurley to Vikram Chatwal, everyone is getting married in India and all this has increased the Indian tourism earnings to $42 billion.
Cox & Kings saw a 15% increase in the number of wedding clients. In fact, weddings are causing crazy earnings for all associated with the tourism industry. Not surprising then that many tour operators are becoming wedding planners as well. According to experts, wedding tourism is growing at 100% year-on-year.
Marketing and Marriages
The minimum budget for a wedding ceremony is $34,000 and business houses have taken note of this. This is one season, when come what may people are most willing to open their wallets. So smart marketers are using ‘weddings’ as a sure shot opportunity to increase sales. Companies like Sony, Samsung and LG now time their discounts according to the wedding season. It is wedding time when couples buy electronics, household appliances as they start a new life. So Bang and Olufsen, the Danish entertainment giants decided to launch their new range during this time last year.
The mammoth size of the wedding market tempted ‘Bregeut’ the world’s most expensive luxury watch brand to launch in India. Rado of Switzerland too came out with a wedding package of two elegant watches for the bride and groom. Not just that, they even organised a contest where the lucky couple could win a 7-day honeymoon trip to Switzerland!
Titan, India’s leading watch manufacturer too launched its jewellery watches in 2004 in the country, just before the wedding season.
This is that time of the year when Indians have to shop. The favourite item on their wedding list is ‘gold’. So ICICI Bank has come out with 99.99% pure gold coins-which they launched just before the wedding season this year. India after all is the largest consumer of gold with 20% of global consumption happening here, and marriages are the perfect excuse to buy this favoured yellow metal. Marriages bring along with them a whole lot of business opportunities. From hoteliers to chefs to beauticians – all seems to flourish with the advent of the marriage season. Be it VLCC or Kaaya Skin Clinic – all have special packages promising to turn you into a beauty queen on your marriage day, only of course if you are ready to pay a bomb.
With marriage comes honeymoon – the most memorable trip of your life and many tourism departments have worked out special honeymoon packages to attract newly weds. From Australia, to Mauritius, to South Africa, all plan their promotions and advertisements around this time, so much so that Star Cruise has launched a cruise to Lakshadweep keeping those lovey-dovey honeymooners in mind!!
Is there more of Bollywood in marriages or more of marriages in Bollywood movies? That’s a tough one to answer. Today most Indian marriages are celebrated in Bollywood style – complete with the gloss and glamour of Bollywood movies. If marriages today look straight from a Bollywood flick, then movies and televisions serials are being made straight from real marriages.
The much-talked-about and one-of-its kind wedding of hotelier Vikram Chatwal and model Priya Sachdev has been turned into a television serial on Discovery Travel and Living channel named “The Great Indian Wedding”. The wedding boom also inspired Sony Television to launch a reality wedding show Kahin na Kahin Koi Hai. It was anchored by the gorgeous Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit.
Not just television serials, a whole lot of movies have been inspired by weddings. Be it Bollywood or Hollywood this is one subject which never fails to attract attention anywhere in the world. The sheer joy, excitement, euphoria surrounding this occasion is unmatchable. Be it Hum Aapke Hai Kaun or Bride and Prejudice, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or Four Wedding and a Funeral – all have been box-office smash hits and the aura of a wedding was the heart of all these movies. Seems marriages do make both, Bollywood movies and the box office, rock!
As the girl and boy look deep into each others eyes and proclaim their love for each other a whole lot of business houses too get a twinkle in their eyes. For along with the wedding bells they can also hear their cash registers ringing. The marriage industry is a “profit guaranteed” industry. As long as people will fall in love, the industry will prosper.
So pull out your thinking caps and see how you can grab a portion of this pie, for a smart entrepreneur knows that marriages and business profits are made for each other.