In the past, the typical engaged woman was 21, lived at home and had her wedding mostly planned by her mother. But now, the bride-to-be is mostly older and has more money to spend, making this an attractive demographic for advertisers. Bridal magazines are responding to these changes by expanding beyond the typical ad markets and promotions. A 1999 Millennium Report conducted by Brides Magazine’s found that while brides and grooms represent only 2.6% of all households in the United States, they account for up to 70% of major household items purchased.
- The average engagement in the United States lasts 15 months.
- During the engagement period, couples buy:
- $4 billion in furniture
- $3 billion in house wares
- $400 million in tableware
- $19 billion is spent buying presents at wedding gift registries.
- The average amount spent on a bridal gown is $800.
- Tuxedoes are typically purchased 5-6 months after the wedding gown.
- Bridesmaids’ gowns are general purchased 3-4 months in advance of the event.
- One third of engaged couples retain a wedding consultant.
- Every year an average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the U.S. (approx. 150,000 per year in Canada).
- Today’s median age for first-time brides is 25 years. For grooms, it’s 27 years.
- Second marriage median age is brides 35 years, grooms 38 years.
- The average amount spent on a traditional American wedding is $22,000.
- 67% of women continue to wear the same fragrance they wore on their wedding day.
- The number 1 wedding city in the U.S. (and number 2 in the world) is Las Vegas with an average of 114,000 weddings per year (the number 1 in the world is Istanbul, Turkey with 166,000)
- The number 2 wedding city in the U.S. is Gatlinburg, TN with 42,000 weddings.
- The number 3 wedding city in the U.S. is New Orleans, LA with an average of 36,000 marriages.
Source: Association for Wedding Professionals Int’l http://afwpi.com/wedstats.html
Marriages by the month:
June is the most popular month for weddings, followed by August, May, September, and October.
In areas where there are harsher winters, the percentage of weddings November through March substantially decreases.
Source: Greeting Card Association
Wedding Costs by Category:
- Reception 28.3%
- Consultant 15.0% (if hired)
- Wedding Rings 11.5%
- Photography/Video 6.6%
- Bridal Gown 6.1%
- Music 5.2%
- Flowers 4.6%
- Bridal attendants’ apparel 4.5%
- Rehearsal dinner 4.2%
- Men’s formal wear 3.2%
- Invitations 2.8%
- Attendants’ gifts 2.1%
- Mother of the bride apparel 1.7%
- Bride’s veil 1.6%
- Clergy and ceremony fees 1.2%
- Limousine 0.9%
- Groom’s attire 0.8%
Source: Association of Bridal Consultants
- Among couples who choose a traditional wedding, 99 percent take a honeymoon.
- Couples spend an average of $4,000 on their honeymoon. That’s three times as much as the average U.S. adult spends on a vacation.
- The length of an average honeymoon is nine days.
- 37 percent of honeymoon trips are to domestic locations; 63 percent are foreign.
- Half a million couples will celebrate a destination wedding this year.
- Most frequently chosen honeymoon destinations are:
- Caribbean 34%
- Hawaii 33%
- Bahamas 20.2%
- Jamaica 17%
- The Cayman Islands 10.5%
- Aruba 8%
- Mexico 7%
- U.S. Virgin Islands 7%
- British Virgin Islands 7%
- St. Marten 5.6%
- Europe 4%
- Puerto Rico 3.8%
- Bermuda 3%
- The items that honeymoon bound couples were most likely to purchase included:
- Wardrobe – 71%
- Swimsuit – 69%
- Sunglasses – 69%
- Sunscreen – 58%
- Luggage – 50%
- Video Camera – 37%
- Still camera – 31%
- Sports gear & equipment – 7%
Transportation Used for Honeymoon:
- Airplane – 76%
- Rental Car – 60%
- Their own car – 16.5%
- Ship/Boat – 27%
- Railroad – 3%
Most Popular Honeymoon Activities:
- Visiting a new place for sightseeing, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife- 75%
- Beaches and Lakes – 45%
- Casinos – 20%
- Cruises – 25%
- Golf/Sports vacation – 10%
- Skiing trips – 5%
WEDDING MAGAZINE STATISTICS
- At a national level, brides buy over 7.5 million bridal magazines per year.
- Brides buy 4 to 6 issues of their favorite bridal magazine.
- Most bridal publications are purchased from bookstores and newsstands.
- The “pass along” value of bridal magazines is an average of 8 to 10 people.
- Over 80% of all Brides and Grooms use the Internet to assist in planning some portion of their wedding.
- The engaged couple who spends between $15,000-$23,000 is computer literate and has attended or graduated from college.
Association of Bridal Consultants
Association for Wedding Professionals Int’l
Condé Nast Bridal Group
National Bridal Service
National Vital Statistics Report, 1998
National Center for Health Statistics
Survey of Newsstand Reports, 1997
Travel Industry Association of America
BUYING CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
The wedding industry is estimated to generate $35 billion in sales from wedding rings, wedding apparel, flowers, receptions, honeymoons, gifts and other related expenses. It also generates $70 billion a year in purchases related to new life together, such as insurance, financial services, automobiles, etc.
There’s also a 43% chance of a marriage ending in divorce*.
More than ever before, today’s bride begins planning her wedding online. A user data study conducted by WeddingChannel.com reported the following consumer decision/time to wedding date planning timeframe:**
Source: *Direct, October 15, 1998 **WeddingChannel.com user data as of 03/01/00
The following list depicts the range of common wedding products any business can sell the bride-to-be:
- Invitations and Announcements
- Marriage Certificates
- Bridal Memory Books
- Guest Books and Pens
- Photo Albums
- Ring bearer Pillows
- Flower girl Baskets
- Cake Tops
- Toasting Glasses
- Unity Candles
- Wedding CDs and Tapes
- Dyeable shoes and purses
- Bridesmaids and Ushers Gifts
- Reference Books and Planners
- Wedding Bubbles and Bells
- Single Use Cameras
- Jewelry for bride and attendants
Other Wedding Product Information and Important Marketing Trends
- Engaged Women are prime purchasers of sheets/pillowcases (almost 50% of newlyweds), and comforters/quilts, and are three times more likely to buy tableware, cookware, and kitchen appliances, than the average population.
- Newlyweds are attracted to Bed-and-Bath stores.
- Newlyweds have a higher propensity for buying furniture electronics, and heavy and light appliances (vacuum cleaners, etc.)
- Newlyweds spend $50 to $150 in ready-made draperies.
- Engaged women likely to acquire floor lamps, and men more inclined to acquire table lamps.
- Low incidence of appeal for office supplies/computer accessories.
- There’s a longstanding trend towards later marriages.
- Engaged likely to be apartment dwellers and renters.
- There is a higher incidence than ever before of newlyweds in households with young children.
- Total marriage market worth estimated at $230 million in 2001, and will top $270 billion by 2006.
Source: The Simmons Survey System and MarketResearch.com