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Malls turn into destination centres for wedding shopping

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Wedding Industry is a flourishing market in India. With each passing year weddings are getting bigger and better. The wedding market has been growing at a great pace. With people becoming more fashion conscious there is a lot of cross comparing with several brands before buying the attire or jewellery for the wedding. With availability of various choices for the brides and grooms all under one roof, malls have today become a wedding shopping destination. Demonetization has been blessing in a disguise for organised retail sector, drawing consumers to shop at malls for weddings as they have the convenience to transact with debit or credit cards. The growing trend of wedding shopping has drastically shifted towards malls this year. In this article, we encapsulate the views of leading retail real estate honchos on this upcoming trend…

Malls turn into destination centres for wedding shopping
Be it shopping for the trousseau or undergoing a beauty and grooming treatment, malls have it all at one destination

The wedding industry in India is flourishing and statistics corroborate the fact. Currently, the industry is over Rs 100,000 crore and is growing at 25-30 per cent annually. The estimated cost of a wedding with no expenses spared could be between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 5 crore, in India. A person, in India, spends one fifth of the wealth accumulated in a lifetime on a wedding ceremony. Considering the demographic dividend, it would not be wrong to assume, with half of India’s population being under 29 years of age, the marriage market is set to boom like never before over the next five to ten years.

There are several ancillary markets and segments benefitting from this boom, like gold and diamond jewellery, apparels, decoration, makeup and over and above the malls. Be it shopping for the trousseau or undergoing a beauty and grooming treatment, malls have it all at one destination. With cashless transactions gradually becoming the order of the day, consumers prefer shopping at malls compared to standalone stores. As per the recent studies/ sources, every bride or a bridegroom can complete 80 per cent of their shopping in a single day by just visiting a mall, as malls offer everything right from apparels to accessories.

It is not just the time-saving/ convenience aspect that draws consumers to shop for weddings at malls but with designers venturing into malls like Ritu Beri and Anita Dongre, people have accessibility to designer labels as well. In the last couple of years Inorbit has witnessed a remarkable growth during the wedding season through their wedding fest – a period when they offer exciting discounts on brands catering to wedding shopping.

THE GROWING TREND OF WEDDING SHOPPING SHIFTING TOWARDS MALLS, GROWTH IN SALES FIGURES

With availability of various choices for the brides and grooms all under one roof, malls have become a convenient destination for wedding shopping. Be it shopping for the trousseau or undergoing a beauty and grooming treatment, malls have it all at one destination.

Spokesperson, DLF PLACE, says, “There has been a growth of 10-15 per cent in sales during this wedding season. We have witnessed increase in footfalls in the mall during wedding season. There has been a growth of about 15-20 per cent in terms of footfall during this wedding season.”

“Ranging from designer label to party wear, ethnic or western wear malls offer wide range on garments, accessories, include jewellery, shoes bags etc. Last of all, shoppers have a choice to rejuvenate by grabbing a cup of coffee, having lunch or catching up on a movie with their family while waiting for customization or post shopping.” opines, Executive Director, Inorbit Malls, Rajneesh Mahajan.

Director, Ambience Mall – Gurgaon and Vasant Kunj, is of the view, “Wedding shopping is often a tedious task. Looking for that perfect gown/ costume for the big day usually involves numerous visits to different shops comparing designs, fabric selection, fittings etc. The same process is repeated for dresses for trousseau and jewelry, shuffling from shop to shop. All these can takes a physical toll amidst the congestion and the pollution sapping your energy and leaving you drained at the end of the day. Malls offers a more relaxed and convenient option with their air conditioned environment and wide range of shopping options from reputed international brands to designer’s outlet for clothes as well as jewelry. Also, malls also offer excellent options for relaxation and eating out to remove the weariness once shopping is complete. There is an increase of approx. 20 per cent in sales figure.”

Wedding trousseau shopping in the Indian context covers buying a wide range of goods and services. This would cover formal and traditional apparel, western wear, lingerie, jewellery, luggage and travel gear, cosmetics and perfumes, furniture and artefacts. In general, for branded product shopping, the focus has shifted to malls while for products like jewellery, the clientele would often prefer to patronize the ‘family jeweller’ with whom there is a decades old relationship.

Talking in the same context, Sr GM-Marketing, Mani Square, Sudarshana Gangulee says, “I feel if in case there is an increase in shopping in malls during wedding season, the change is more because of a behavioral change with more people visiting malls now, rather than because of the demonetization – which in any case happened only a little over a month ago. This is too short a time to conclude on any perceptible shift in peoples’ buying patterns.”

DLF Promenade registered 15 per cent increase in footfall during wedding season according to Executive VP And Head Premium Malls, DLF Utilities, Pushpa Bector she also shared the list of brands which did extremely well during this time at her mall:

“At DLF Promenade, it’s about a wholesome shopping experience for wedding shoppers. Especially, brands like Meena Bazaar and Satya Paul are one stop destination for wedding trousseau for the mall patrons. However, what also sell largely during this season are the beauty and skin care products. Brands like Kama Ayurveda, Forest Essentials and L’Occitane are the go to brands for the popular bridal glow collection and much more. The mall holds a strong folio of beauty brands varying from premium to luxury such as a Colorbar, , Sephora, the newly launched , INGLOT, Chanel Beauty, etc with an extensive range of make-up products available under one roof for wedding shoppers with various budgets. Many brides aspire for niche makeup brands for their wedding and the mall spoils them with choices. For wedding jewelry, the mall hosts Swarovski which is internationally renowned for their classic jewel pieces and home grown jeweler BVR Luxuries has an extraordinary collection of beautiful traditional necklaces and accessories for all occasions.

Wedding shoppers also look forward to do their intimate wear shopping as well and they easily get the best bid from brands like Hunkemoller, La Senza, , Calvin Klein underwear and . The in-house fashion brands like Zara, Forever21, Forever New, Raymond, , Tommy Hilfiger, , Armani Jeans, , Lacoste, Celio, Marks & Spencers, BCBG Generation, Bebe, BCHP, , Chemistry, FCUK, Gstar Raw, , Steve Madden are updated with latest season’s collection which could really come handy for a stylish honeymoon wardrobe for the newly wed.

Another significant category is the gifting and home decor. Tenants like PURE HOME, Chumbak offer a wide range of products for the in-laws and friends to select and gift the newlywed couple.”

VP, Quest Properties India ltd, Sanjeev Mehra says, “I have always commented that if weddings were to stop in India then retail would go in a slump. The figures do not lie and the highest sales in retail take place when it is the pre-wedding and wedding season. I have been running malls for the last 9 years and all figures spike in this period showing wedding season affects malls in a major way.

Further brands which cater for the weddings are also there in the malls and becomes a one stop shop for the wedding shopper.”

Talking about the footfall, Mehra, says, “ There is a general spike in footfall as the wedding season is also around the biggest sales. However, one cannot really differentiate that they are here for the wedding shopping only. Spill over is huge and the advantages are taken by the other stores as well.”

Sr Vice President, , Rima Pradhan says, “The mall witnessed 8 per cent to 10 per cent during the wedding season as compared to previous year. We would attribute this growth to our initiatives like the Wedding Fair we organised in the mall which turned out to be a major centre of attraction this wedding season. This year despite of demonetization wave, ethnic wear sales witnessed a growth of around 15 per cent in sales.

Talking from a relatively small town experience, GM-BD, Marketing, Junction Mall, Shobhojit Pakrasi says, “We have witnessed footfall growth during wedding season to be around 21 per cent. For past 2 years we have seen a considerable upward trend in sales during the wedding seasons, specially for high end suits, sherwani’s, shoes and etc. Sales growth spiked upto 30 per cent during this time.”

INITIATIVES TAKEN UP BY MALLS

Pradhan says, “This wedding season we have certainly seen increase in the footfalls. The mall had organised a Wedding Fair and created an ambience to make Viviana Mall a one–stop destination for all wedding requirements. Apart from showcasing latest trends in wedding out its through our versatile tenant mix, the mall also provided services like make-up expert, wedding photographer, accessories, skincare expert, astrologer, etc. in the mall. This drew customer interest. The décor was created keeping in mind the wedding festive season.”

According to Pakrasi, “We do undertake wedding specials campaigns brandwise highlights through the social media and other digital platforms.”

Sharing his experience, Gehlot, says, “Malls have been attracting an increasing stream of visitors year round, drawn by the convenience and shopping options on offer. The wedding season sees an increased footfall as whole families and sometimes extended families share the joy of occasion by accompanying the bride/groom to be on shopping rounds. Malls are the preferred choice as it offers unparalled shopping options in air-conditioned environments and also the whole entourage can engage in bond building while enjoying sumptuous meals together in one of the various eating options or engaging in some leisure activities at the mall.”

Talking further about the initiatives, Gehlot, says, “Apart from promotional activities such as offers and discounts, the mall management has taken several initiatives like offering more space to outlets selling wedding related merchandise so that the entire product package is available within the comforts of the mall. Our malls are also decked up with decorations and festive lightings at this time of the year to exude the spirit of happiness and joy. Other services such as valet parking and mall guides are also deployed for the convenience of wedding shoppers.”

Wedding season is always a high footfall period, bringing in serious buyers leading to high conversion and higher sales to the mall. Spending happens on high value products like jewellery, fashion accessories, home products and electronics and these categories have fared well.

“At Inorbit, we hosted wedding festival in the month of November. The event engaged customers in various activities like shop and win contest and sponsored holiday packages, gold pendants and gift vouchers to winners. Retailers came forward and created interesting visual displays of the wedding collection for shoppers to know the latest trends and styles. The mall was decorated and set ups are done for creating a celebratory enviornment.” says Mahajan.

IMPACT OF DEMONETIZATION

Talking about demonetization and it’s impact on the sales and the measures they initiated to know let it bring any blow to their businesses, retail realty honchos, opines:

“We are shifting from demonetization to digitzation, so malls along with the retailers have to go high-tech and implement various technologies such as accepting payments through e-wallets, UPI, prepaid cards etc. to help consumers. We have witnessed a sudden rise in all forms of digital payments and reduction in physical cash transactions. Around 70 per cent of the transactions were done by cards pre-demonetization. Post demonetization the number of card and other digital modes of transactions has gone up to 90 per cent.” says, Pradhan.

Not agreeing to general sentiments that demonetization has drawn consumers to shop at malls for weddings as they have the convenience to transact with debit or credit cards, Mehra puts his point across,” I do not think that this is true and the wedding season and retail saw a dip in the first few weeks in November, however happy to share everything is back to normal now. Demonetization was an inconvenience and huge mind set. I do believe that we have passed that and people are becoming more digitalised.”

Bector, shares, “Yes, demonetization hit the business in the initial week, but with its settling down and people are back to full swings for shopping at the mall. Definitely, it is an advantage to our mall providing a complete cashless shopping experience. Mall patrons enter mall with a free mind of being acknowledged without cash and with full accessibility of debit/ credit card transactions.”

Agreeing that demonetization has been a blessing in disguise for all the stake holders of organised retail businesses, Gehlot, opines, “The recent demonetization has added to the attractiveness of malls as a shopping destination, giving a boost to footfall and sales including sale of wedding supplies as facilities for cashless transactions are well in place at outlets operating from malls. Moreover, malls today offer the best option for shopping with a wide collection of international brand outlets and renowned designers settng up shop at various malls. Also, parking at malls is hassle free compared to the limited parking space available at most major markets.”

Mahajan, talks about the initiatives, which Inobit Malls came up with to provide convenience to their patrons during demonetization time, “Post the announcement of the demonetization there was an initial slowdown in footfall for few days. With organised retail offering multiple payments options like credit, debit, mobile money etc to customers, the bounce back was much faster.”

In the concluding remarks, spokesperson, DLF Place, pointed out, “As malls offer everything under one roof and facilitate card transactions, and especially post demonetization where in cash payments were not possible, wedding shoppers have preferred malls this time around over unorganised markets which largely operate on cash transactions.”