Wedding spending rises but fewer people getting married could dim the market
The average cost on weddings has been increasing since 2014, buoyed by upward trend of the western wedding culture, yet this trend may vanish soon amid macroeconomic headwinds and a decrease number of weddings, business insiders said.
A couple spent an average of HK$360,000 on their weddings in 2018 up 9 per cent from a year earlier, according to “2018 Wedding expenditure Survey” from ESD Life, a site dedicated to wedding content and planning. The report showed that the couples are willing to spend the largest portion in a wedding banquet, followed by wedding jewellery and rings.
Chan Ho Wan, Chairman of wedding banquet chain Club ONE, said that new couples allocate higher budget with a higher requirement. "The couples will arrange a wedding planner to satisfy their requests and plan all details about the banquet for each couple."
Wedding planner Wong Wei Chun said that wedding receptions become more entertaining and luxurious, couples are more likely to spend money on music performance and decorations for their wedding.
“Last year, a couple was willing to pay above HK$50,000 for a live band show in their wedding reception. Also, they tend to purchase well-chosen floral decorations, caterings, souvenirs as well as tablecloths to create a unique wedding banquet,” she said.
She said that Hong Kong couples also attach great importance to personalised features and details in recently. Bridals are willing to spend more money on tailor-made wedding rings and jewellery, so the expenditures of wedding jewellery recorded the largest increase of 18% in 2018.
Chairlady of the Wedding Management Academy (Hong Kong), Kwong Hung said that the willingness of wedding spending increases as the influence of western wedding culture. The couples tend to add extra effort on new elements, like floral decorations in the wedding.
“For example, western bridal shower becomes popular in Hong Kong,” she said. “It is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding.”
She said that the engagement party is another trend for new couples. It is a celebration for the newly engaged couple within 2 to 3 months of their engagement.
She explained that the expenditures of these celebrations cost couples an arm and a leg because they need to spend for location, outfit, catering, the average costs are HK$30,000 to HK$50,000.
Consumer psychologist, Kong Yuk Yee said nowadays, TV soap dramas influenced Hong Kong couples to consider more on romance, memorial value, and individualism rather than traditional collective in wedding planning. Thus, couples exclude cost factor to achieve grandeur wedding ceremony.
“Nowadays, wedding celebration has become a stage for couples to perform themselves perfectly in front of their friends and relatives,” she said.
Kwong expressed reservations about sales performance in the near future, as the Sino-U.S. trade war may put a damper on consumer confidence and actual spending.
In 2016, wedding expenditure decrease because the Hong Kong economy expanded at a slower pace as global economic growth pace weakened to its lowest level since 2009. The Sino-U.S. trade conflict and market uncertainty may lead the wedding industry entering a grim market.
“The sales performance would be affected by the cautious consumption sentiment, some unnecessary or superior goods such as wedding jewellery stand to bear the brunt under this tough climate,” she said.
“Another factor a decreasing interest of Hong Kong young couple in getting married. Such a decrease may influence the market in the short term.”
Shares of newly-listed firm Palace Banquet Holdings Limited (1703) specialises in offering one-stop wedding banquet service. According to its listing document, one of the risks is falling wedding numbers. The number of weddings dropped from 55.4 thousand in 2013 to 50.9 thousand in 2017, showing an increasing tendency towards marriage postponement or non-marriage.
The decreasing wedding trend will be a thread of Hong Kong wedding market. According to the report conducted by Frost & Sullivan, it predicts the wedding banquet sales revenue will be zero growth between 2018 to 2021.
《The Young Financial Post 新報人財經》
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