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Weddings Blitz opens up a $51 billion opportunity for India


For the past four months, 27-year-old dentist Tanu Shreya has spent every spare moment planning her upcoming wedding.

From matching accessories and a fresh outfit for each of the four days of celebration, to personalized gifts for the hundreds of guests, her family has been shopping every weekend since the date was finalized in August.

Shreya’s ceremony in the eastern state of Jharkhand is one of the 3.5 million weddings planned between late November and mid-December. The so-called wedding season is a $51 billion opportunity for Indian businesses, as consumers increase spending on gold jewelry, clothing, wedding planning services and home goods.

Kumar Rajagopalan, chief executive officer of the Retailers Association of India, expects sales growth of 8%-11% across industries related to wedding spending such as jewelry, garments, footwear and designer clothing from late November to January .

Most Indians tie the knot between the end of the Hindu festival of Diwali and the first few months of the new year. Traditional weddings last for several days, with elaborate rituals and entertaining guests with music, colorful costumes, food and parties that stretch late into the night.

Despite the fact that inflation is affecting those who are not particularly well off this year, it is expected that there will be good business in the first weeks of the season. Total sales during November 23 to December 15 will be around 4.25 trillion rupees ($51 billion), estimates the Federation of All India Traders. Wearing and gifting gold is considered great during this period and families spend a large portion of their wedding budget on jewelry.

With an annual demand of around 800 tonnes, more than half of which is bought for weddings, India is the world’s second largest bullion consuming nation. Retailers such as Titan Co.’s Tanishq, Senco Gold Ltd., Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Ltd. and Kalyan Jewelers India Ltd. make the most of a seasonal spending spree.

Sales during the October-December period will be better than last year and rising prices due to the Israel-Hamas war may not have a major impact on wedding jewelery demand, said Chirag Sheth, chief consultant at Metals Focus Ltd. for wedding jewelry, so if prices go up, they can buy 2% or 3% less,” which is not significant, he said.

Read more: Indians Splurge Big on Festive Season Sales, Buoying Economy

The South Asian country has one of the fastest growing numbers of individuals with a net worth of $100 million or more, and that is reflected in their wedding spending. These days, celebrity Bollywood weddings and popular shows like Made in Heaven or Indian Matchmaking are setting the trend for an Instagram-worthy ceremony.

“Budgets have increased by 10%-20%, but it’s not just about spending more,” said wedding planner Neeraj Kumar, founder of Delhi and Jaipur-based Le Magnifique. to food packages.

Shreya’s wedding and related functions are also shaped by what she saw on Instagram or X, formerly known as Twitter. The growing influence of celebrities and social media means families are spending more on professional planners, fueling an industry already worth $210 billion. For many, the perfect ceremony means flying family and friends out to glamorous destinations like the forts of Rajasthan or the beaches of Kerala and Goa, increasing demand for hotels and flights.

Unsurprisingly, it is the middle classes and the wealthy who are spending the most, Rajagopalan said. Consumers spend depending on their expectations for the future, and right now “people have the sense that the future will be a little better for all of them.”

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Updated: 18 November 2023, 10:44 AM IST

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