COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
As the wedding industry goes into turmoil with the COVID-19 pandemic hijacking social life and pushing business as usual practices against the wall, Bridal Wear is in for severe short and medium term challenges. A tiny virus has changed the social, business and economic landscape beyond recognition, as businesses big and small shut shops, consumers disappear, discretionary income evaporates amid job losses and the global economy plunges into the darkest of depths. Growth in the global Bridal Wear market against this backdrop has been revised and is now projected to reach US$79.7billion by 2027. As employment rates skyrockets, the erosion of household wealth brings bad news for the wedding industry which is critically reliant on consumer disposable incomes. Consumer confidence is rapidly plummeting and plunging in parallel will be spending. Among the expenses people cut back due to COVID-19 will be wedding spends. Wedding cancelations are already rampant and most hard hit are destination weddings. While production of wedding gowns remains impacted by the lockdown restrictions, love is taking on a newer and less expensive meaning. Couples are moving to live streaming of their weddings using videoconferencing applications like zoom. Simple at-home weddings on a budget are becoming the norm and this means painful decline in demand for bridesmaid dresses and expensive made to order bridal gowns and accessories.
The market will nevertheless bounce back once the considerably restricted public life is relaxed and the economy heals eventually. The market will be sustained by the continued faith in the religious sanctity of marriage even amid the rapidly emerging divide in cultural values, changing patterns in family life and altering ideas of love, intimacy and contemporary marital practices. Given that the wedding industry is founded on cultural and religious ideas and practices, rapid social changes including the growth of cohabitation have and will pose challenges to growth even into the coming years. However, despite the challenge, marriage continues to remain an important building block of human civilization as the ultimate public affirmation of commitment to monogamy. As the only institution that epitomizes selfishness in a self-centered society, marriages will continue to remain the foundation for a healthy society promoting the common good in humanity by building stronger families and raising more conscientious children.
Few of the factors, although currently in hiatus, expected to sustain growth in the post COVID-19 period include the coming of the new millennia's of marriageable age; marketization of marriages; growing pressure to turn weddings into an "experience"; innovations in bridal wear fabric, designs and styles; rise of the internet, social media and ensuing popularity of e-commerce as a preferred retailing avenue; evergreen lure of off-shoulder wedding dresses with plunging necklines in lightweight, lustrous soft fabric; launch of new designs and collections of plus size wedding gowns against the backdrop of a growing proportion of the female population wearing dress sizes of 16 and over; prominence of oversized wedding jewelry and Cinderella wedding shoes in shimmering ivory and silver; rise in beach side honeymoons and the resulting interest in beach friendly and practical wrinkle-resistant honeymoon costumes. Although the U. S and Europe continue to heavily influence fashion trends in the global market, the already mature market profile, limited growth in population, changing cultural values and the growing threat of "deinstitutionalization" of marriage" will present key challenges to growth. Rest of world, comprising the Middle East and African markets, will witness the fastest growth supported by the still intact cultural belief systems which are relatively less affected by the globalization of cultural beliefs; rising affluence and a parallel increase in wedding spends.