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Wedding industry finds its sweet spot

By ZHENG YIRAN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-02 10:08
Visitors select wedding costumes at an exposition in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. [DING GENHOU/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Lin Xia is nervous ahead of her impending nuptials during the National Day Holidays. The 25 year-old media professional from Shenzhen, Guangdong province, is perplexed as to the number of persons she needs to invite for her wedding considering that she has a budget of only 200,000 yuan ($29,000).

Within that budget Lin has to not only account for catering services, but also wedding planning, hotel rentals, a wedding car, the ceremony host, makeup, wedding photography, costumes for the bride and the bridegroom, wedding room decoration, bridesmaids' souvenirs etc.

"Our costume costs way more than I thought. Just for the wedding shoes alone, I prepared three pairs. Preparing for a wedding is costly, but since we get married only once in a lifetime, I don't want to have any regrets," Lin said.

The couple plan to offer two-day hotel accommodation for guests who are travelling to their city for the wedding, with an estimated expenditure of roughly 60,000 yuan to 70,000 yuan. In addition, Lin plans to have another wedding banquet in her hometown, which means additional costs.

Justifying the logic of getting married during the National Day Holidays, Lin says that: "We need to give guests enough time to travel to our city."

According to the latest report by market research company ASKCI Consulting, China's wedding industry is estimated to see a 24.66 percent year-on-year growth to 1.82 trillion yuan this year. Last year, the total size of the industry was 1.46 trillion yuan.

However, the number of people getting married has fallen drastically in the past few years. According to data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the total number of couples registering their weddings stood at 10.59 million in 2017, down 7 percent from 2016, marking the fourth consecutive year of decline.

"With most of the wedding couples being those who are born after the 1990s, the average spend on weddings has been rising due to their higher incomes. Therefore, the total consumption is still large," said industry insiders.

According to a report jointly released by online wedding service provider HJtongchuang and hunli.baihe.com, wedding banquets account for most of the wedding costs, often up to 60 percent. Wedding jewels, wedding planning and wedding photography take up 8 percent, 8 percent and 7 percent respectively.

With the new generation changing their concept towards weddings, the expense is not limited to the wedding banquet as honeymoon trips are becoming increasingly popular with young people. According to the survey, the cost of a honeymoon trip accounts for 12 percent, ranking just next to the wedding banquet.

The booming industry has also seen a flurry of interest from investors. From 2010 to 2017, more than 40 venture capital firms have entered the sector, including Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital, Matrix Partners China and Zhen Fund.

"Over the last three decades, China's wedding industry has brought wonderful experiences and memories to the public. The industry has evolved rapidly with the emergence of private wedding service companies in Beijing and Shanghai in 1996. In 2006, wedding services was officially recognized by the government as an entire industry," said Shi Kangning, secretary-general of the Committee of Wedding Service Industries.

"With the development of the industry, challenges have also risen. There will be an increasing number of professional institutions and companies will face intense competition. But overall, the future is promising," he said.

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