Industry Deep Dive: Weddings

Wedding thumbWedding bells will ring a little louder this fall, as IBISWorld expects most wedding-related industries to experience revenue increases in 2016. However, most of these marriage-centric industries will grow only marginally. While some trends like growth in per capita disposable income and the legalization of same-sex marriage will expand the wedding market, others, such as the declining marriage rate and the proliferation of DIY weddings, will pressure revenue gains. As a result, IBISWorld estimates the average wedding expenditure to expand 2.9% in 2016, totaling $33,575.80 per couple.

Big day, bigger spending

Wedding-related industries, like the Jewelry Stores industry and the Wedding Services industry, are poised for growth in 2016, as gains in per capita disposable income and consumer spending enable couples to spend more on their nuptials. In 2016, IBISWorld estimates per capita disposable income and consumer spending to grow 2.3% and 2.9%, respectively. Furthermore, couples are increasingly holding off marriage until they have reached their late 20s or early 30s; by this age, brides and grooms are more likely to have stable jobs and steady incomes, permitting greater wedding expenditure when they do eventually tie the knot. In 2016, IBISWorld estimates that these trends will boost revenue for the Jewelry Stores industry by 0.5%, totaling $34.8 billion, as couples splurge on expensive engagement and wedding rings.

Weddings chart 1

Changes in regulation have also played a large role in the wedding market’s growth over the five years to 2016. The legalization of same-sex marriage in June 2015 opened up wedding-focused industries to an entirely new pool of consumers, and many operators in these industries have established reputations as experts in these niche ceremonies. However, these specialized wedding vendors are not limited to focusing on same-sex couples; in recent years, there has been increased demand for ecofriendly, destination and themed weddings. Couples are dreaming up unique ceremonies that have a personal touch, enabling specialized vendors to charge more for their services. As a result, IBISWorld expects revenue for the Wedding Services industry to increase 2.8% in 2016, totaling $58.3 billion.

Advancements in technology have also influenced wedding-centric industries over the five years to 2016. Wedding vendors are creating websites and increasingly developing a presence on social media to attract customers. Many operators in the wedding market, particularly those that manage the aesthetic component of wedding ceremonies, are placing a strong focus on its Instagram and Facebook pages to showcase their goods and services to engaged couples. For example, most operators in the Online Flower Shops industry showcase a full portfolio of their offerings online, and more tech-savvy couples are utilizing the internet to find their florists. Due to this increased exposure, IBISWorld estimates that revenue for the Online Flower Shops industry to grow at an annualized rate of 6.6% over the five years to 2016, totaling $2.8 billion. Furthermore, this form of free online marketing has cut down advertising expenses and boosted profit margins for operators that keep up a prominent social media presence.

Wedding woes

The increasingly tech-savvy US population has not entirely served as a boon to the wedding market. Over the five years to 2016, the do-it-yourself (DIY) wedding has gained significant traction, as more couples have opted to take on wedding preparation themselves. The DIY wedding enables couples to save money and add a personal touch to their wedding, and increased access to the internet has allowed more couples to book venues and hire vendors without assistance. Furthermore, websites like Pinterest and Instagram allow couples to browse pictures from other weddings and gain artistic inspiration for what they want for their own nuptials. As the number of broadband connections has increased at annualized rate of 12.2% over the five years to 2016, significantly expanding the number of consumers with internet access, more people have undertaken the organization and preparation of their own weddings. As a result, IBISWorld estimates that revenue for the Wedding Planners industry has declined at an annualized rate of 1.9% over the five years to 2016, totaling $1.2 billion.

Weddings chart 2Moreover, the declining marriage rate is also negatively impacting wedding-related industries. Over the five years to 2016, IBISWorld expects the marriage rate to decline at an annualized rate of 0.2%, limiting the target market for wedding-centric industries. As women have become more financially independent, and changing norms have decreased the social pressure to get married, fewer nuptials have been occurring each year. In 2016, as the result of an anticipated 2.9% decline in the marriage rate, IBISWorld expects revenue for the Bridal Stores industry to decline 0.5%, totaling $2.9 billion.

Happily ever after?

Going forward, IBISWorld estimates that most wedding-related industries will continue to grow, though the gains will be much more subdued. Demand will be pressured by the ever-falling marriage rate, which is expected to decline at an annualized rate of 1.9% over the five years to 2021. While a steep decline in the marriage rate will severely hamper growth, gains in the overall macroeconomic climate will enable engaged couples to splurge on more expensive ceremonies; IBISWorld estimates per capita disposable income and consumer spending to grow at annualized rates of 1.9% and 2.5%, respectively, over the five years to 2021. Due to these competing factors, revenue gains for wedding-related industries will be stunted. For example, revenue for the Wedding Services industry is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 1.6% over the five years to 2021, totaling $63.1 billion. Although the industry is anticipated to remain on an upward trajectory, its revenue growth rate will be much slower than it was during the previous five-year period, when the industry experienced annualized revenue growth of 2.2%. Over the five years to 2021, IBISWorld anticipates most wedding-related industries to fare similarly to the Wedding Services industry, with strong macroeconomic gains just slightly offsetting the decline in nuptials.

Industry Deep Dive: Weddings

Wedding Infographic