Pandemic shakes up $73B wedding industry

While the pandemic has led to a flurry of engagements, it also has put in limbo much of the wedding industry—a $73 billion market, according to data research firm IBISWorld. Most couples—about 80 percent of them—postponed or canceled their ceremonies after the U.S. outbreak began nearly a year ago, says David Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants. Those who haven’t are scaling back considerably, with backyard vows and online ceremonies to avoid large gatherings, Wood says. 

As a result, couples are redirecting their wedding dollars—splurging on engagement rings, individually packed charcuterie plates and macarons, and moving away from multicourse dinners, traditional venues and tiered cakes, according to The Washington Post.  

In 2019, the average wedding cost nearly $25,000, with most of that going toward the reception, according to the Wedding Report, a market research firm. But with nuptials increasingly taking place outdoors or online, the average couple now spend significantly less, forcing retailers and vendors to adapt. Hotels are offering elopement packages, bridal gown designers are creating simpler, shorter dresses, and bakers are churning out miniature cakes. And a growing contingent of videographers and wedding planners will produce and host Zoom nuptials, often with a price tag in the thousands. 

At diamond giant De Beers, fourth-quarter sales of engagement rings rose 12% from a year earlier, with much of that growth coming from larger stones, according to Stephen Lussier, the company’s executive vice president of consumer markets.

Signet Jewelers, the parent company of Kay, Zales and Peoples, also reports seeing higher demand for larger and more novel cuts of diamonds. Read the full story.