“It is not a one-day event but [a wedding] lasts for 4-5 days. The opportunity was lost in the last two years but there is robust demand for both ceremonial wear and western attire such as suits now,” said Sunil Kataria, chief executive of lifestyle business at suiting fabric and ethnic wear retailer Raymond. “The market is completely open and initial numbers point to a bumper season.”
Historically, the celebration-wear category is the least impacted as Indians like to celebrate weddings, festivals and other occasions as life-time events even during a tough economic environment. However, restricted mobility and limited guests list over the past 2 years due to the Covid pandemic meant suppressed demand.
“There is lot of excitement in the air post the pandemic, people want to really amplify their experiences, there is an exuberance around all occasions that we want to celebrate,” said celebrity designer Kunal Rawal. Designers had to ramp up hiring to meet the festive rush.
This wedding season splurge would be on top of a record high Diwali demand, say retailers.
“Wedding sale has started,” said Pushpa Bector, executive director at DLF Retail which operates premium malls across the National Capital Region. “At our malls, we are providing stylists for ease of shopping (for consumers) during big occasions.”
Conglomerates such as Reliance Industries and the Aditya Birla Group have been betting big on the designer luxury market for the past few years, and the wedding season offers them an opportunity to sell their wares to a wider consumer set.
For instance, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail have bought into designer labels including Jaypore, Shantanu & Nikhil, Tarun Tahiliani and Sabyasachi while Reliance has invested in brands such as Manish Malhotra and Raghavendra Rathore.
“Wedding designs are inspired by the new spirit of happiness after the pandemic. Happy colours, flowy silhouettes, cheerful embroidery are the main focus for most designers,” said designer Nida Mahmood.
While the wedding season accounts for around 15-20% for the overall clothing industry sales, there are several discretionary categories where it is crucial for their survival. For instance, weddings constitute around 60% of jewellery sales and for cosmetics companies, it is the most crucial period. “It is a make-or-break season for cosmetics …we have expanded our portfolio and are also partnering bridal stylists which can influence sales for the trousseau as well as make up for the bride’s most important day,” said Samir Modi, founder of Colorbar Cosmetics.
For designers, this year’s festive season looks more like what it used to be, closer to normal.
“We must wait and watch what happens to the market because there are other headwinds now, including inflation, softening of consumer sentiment, and other potential dampeners,” said Amrish Kumar, managing director of Reliance Ritu Kumar.