Experts Speak: Decoding the bride & groom of today
In conversation with Social Samosa, experts share insights on how Bollywood and social media trends set the tone for the wedding season. Brands also share how they are looking forward to a bountiful collection this season, which comes after the pandemic.
As Bittoo from ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ rightfully said, “Recession ho ya inflation, shaadiyan toh honi hai.” The wedding industry, while it lost a bit of its luster, remained largely steady during the pandemic too. The big fat wedding had leaner guestlists but now that the situation is back to normal and the mandaps can be jam-packed again, hopes are high for the wedding season.
As has been the norm over the years, the wedding season which begins in the midst of the festive season is the period when apparel, jewelry, event, and matchmaking brands ramp up their marketing activities and tap into consumer sentiments.
According to a Justdial consumers insight report, this year’s wedding season has seen a rise in demand for a wide range of services, with searches for banquet halls going up by 83%, caterers by 57%, and wedding jewellers by 44%.
The Big Fat Indian Weddings
This year, there are around 3.5 million weddings expected in India, a jump from 2.5 million last year said Adhish Zaveri, AVP- Marketing of Shaadi.com.
“I think about 30% more weddings are happening this year. It’s gonna be a big wedding season,” said Zaveri.
As per JustDial’s report, for wedding jewellers, Mumbai has topped the demand across the country this season, followed by Delhi and Hyderabad. Kalyan Jewellers, which reported Rs 1,637 crore in revenue, is now confident that the industry will continue to show an uptick.
Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director of Kalyan Jewellers, said that the brand has kickstarted the festive and wedding season on the record high base of the previous year.
Basis the ongoing demand momentum, we are confident that the jewellery industry will register high double-digit growth in the third quarter of this financial year, resulting in strong revenue growth going forward.
Co-founder of wedding organizing company Meragi Events, Lakshminarayan B said that the wedding season usually peaks in December and then starts slowing down in January and February but this wedding season, December, January, and February are going to be competing with each other.
“For the wedding season, we right now are anticipating organizing more than 100 weddings in December alone. So it’s a very big month for us and we are very excited about the spike in the business,” said Lakshminarayan
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Bollywood Inspires Indian Brides & Grooms
Social media trends and Bollywood influence Indian weddings. GenZ and millennials, especially, look up to celebrities and influencers. Weddings are becoming more cinematic and grand, with Bollywood profoundly influencing it in terms of attire, jewelry, venue, and more.
Sushruthi Krishna, Co-Founder of the ethnic wear brand Saaki, said that there is a very strong influence of Bollywood on millennials. Priyanka Chopra’s wedding, she said, was a benchmark that had more red tones and deeper traditional looks, but for the GenZ, Alia Bhatt’s wedding changed choices of color palettes and intimacy.
Millennials and GenZ are significantly influenced by Bollywood and that will not die anytime soon. Also, there’s a shift back to offline weddings and people want to go over the top with their current setup but still want really comfortable clothes.
Kalyanaraman said that the cultural influence of Bollywood and regional cinema has been consistent for decades, leading to the emergence of new wedding jewellery trends on a year-on-year basis.
“Following a customer-centric approach, we have been constantly widening our product portfolio with multiple region-specific jewellery collections that will cater to the distinct needs of our customers from various communities,” said Kalyanaraman.
Lakshminarayan B said that there’s a huge shift in consumer behavior due to Bollywood. Most of the customers are millennial aspirational buyers who don’t want run-of-the-mill designs and look for a personal touch – choose their flowers and take inspiration from Bollywood a lot.
“Specifically, the brides have their own boards on Pinterest. So, there’s a huge influx of not just Bollywood [fans] but a lot of customers who have traveled the world, try and bring in those inspirations from different countries, and different cultures too,” said Lakshminarayan.
Pinterest Mood Boards & Reels – Marketing mediums evolve
Millennials and Gen Z are a multi-platform and multi-screen generation. According to Epsilon research, two-thirds of millennials use Facebook, while 50% or more of Gen Z use Instagram and Snapchat on a daily basis. Instagram is mostly used by Gen Z (60%) and millennials (40%). Advertisers are also following consumers. For this wedding season, digital is getting more attention.
Zaveri said that the medium that works for the brand is largely a combination of social media.
“YouTube plays an interesting role in our ability to reach out to the youth and of course, television makes an important combination,” he said.
Arjun Bhatia, Senior Vice President, and CMO at Matrimony.com, said that people are looking for inspiration on social media to bring alive their dream weddings.
“When it comes to wedding ideas and engagement on the old concept of weddings, it has been proven for us that the format that works best is definitely videos, and the platform that works best is Instagram,” said Bhatia.
Kalyanaraman stated that in the past couple of years, there’s been an enormous increase in the screen time spent by Indians across digital platforms and there has been significant dependence on information consumption on new-age mediums and virtual platforms. This has resulted in more and more brands aligning their marketing budgets towards digital, social media, and OTT, especially for including new content.
He said, “We have introduced changes to our media mix with a more digital-centric approach, which has played a key role in targeting next-gen consumers. We are now focused on consistently developing content in various shorter formats to amplify across digital platforms, especially for our vernacular campaigns.
Brands have to be where their potential customers are.
“Facebook and Instagram are millennial channels and Snapchat is a Gen Z channel. Being present in places where millennials and Gen Z are more active is important,” said Sushruthi.
Marketing blitzkrieg for the wedding season
Brands are leaving no stone unturned to celebrate the big fat Indian weddings. From Saaki to Kalyan Jewellers, brands have amped up their marketing activities on social media and are going all out to reach out to consumers through traditional mediums.
Sharing the marketing plans for the season, Zaveri said, “We’ve done this whole campaign around ‘before the start of the season, comes the season of Shaadi dot com’ because we’re pretty synonymous with the category and a lot of people do sign up a few months before this time we’ve taken it a step further.”
Kalyan Jewellers, on the other hand, has taken the regional approach.
“We have taken the hyperlocal route by launching our Muhurat campaign in various vernacular languages celebrating the distinct customs and traditions followed in different parts of the country,” said Kalyanaraman.
Saaki is prioritising digital marketing this season, with a focus on CRM.
“We’re also looking at a lot of influencer marketing, particularly around the season. All the other traditional channels will continue to fire, which is all the performance marketing, CRM tools, and connecting with our customers through social,” said Sushruthi.
Weddings Of The Future
Jewellery, apparel, and matrimonials are hopeful about seeing a prime wedding season after a slight setback in the pandemic. With the new season, new trends are expected to emerge in the industry.
According to Zaveri, the bride and groom might start bearing the burden of their own wedding, unlike old days, allowing them to do it their way which will bring a big shift in the way weddings to happen.
“In India, the wedding burden is still largely with the parents. When singles [young people] do it, they probably will not have the accountability. A lot of people will see the wedding as a little more intimate and exclusive,” said Zaveri.
In the marketing world, Bhatia said that the biggest trend taking over now is this whole concept of personalization.
“We see both the bride and the groom are really involved in planning the journey of the wedding and they’re also personalizing it. For eg, the wedding card will actually talk a little bit about the story of how they met. There’s a lot of personalization around the songs and dances and they will be very keen to wear something which they look up to from their favorite actors, and personalization is changing a lot in cuisines too. So all these trends are emerging,” said Bhatia.
The future of weddings, therefore, might continue to be inspired by Bollywood, grand in decor but intimate in size, and personalized.