Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pulling back the curtain on Bridal Registries

Let’s talk about the growth of registries. Gone are the days of registering at a large department store and calling it a day. With the advent of electronic registries, the Internet and growth of specialty retailers, registering has moved into a whole new world.

In an article about bridal magazines, Daniel Lagani, VP and publisher of the Fairchild Bridal Group says, “Target, Macy’s, Williams & Sonoma and far less traditional players like Home Depot are looking at the bridal category as an opportunity. When you get the bride-to-be, you have identified the Holy Grail of a long-term value customer.”

Why is the B2B a long-term value customer? Because after three years of marriage, 96% of women continue to shop at the same stores they shopped during their engagement and 81% still purchase the same brands. That’s right, long after the last thank you note is sent out and that Cuisinart that your friend just had to have (even though her meals generally go straight from the freezer to the microwave) begins to collect dust in the closet, there is still plenty of money to be made of off this happily married couple. Here are some quick numbers to illustrate this for you:
  • Newlyweds spend $70 billion in the first year of marriage, including
  • $4 billion on furniture
  • $3 billion on house wares
  • $413 million on tabletop.
In fact, couples spend more in the first 6 months of marriage than a settled household does in 5 years.

According to a survey by Bride’s magazine, the percent of newlyweds who have either bought the following items in the past year, or plan to do so in the next year:
  • Couch/sofa: 32%
  • Patio/Outdoor furniture: 31.8%
  • Mattress/Box Spring: 29.2%
  • Barbecue Grills: 27.9%
  • Vacuum cleaners: 25.4%
  • Sheets: 48.6%
  • Formal napkins: 23.4%
  • Blenders: 32.9%
  • Automatic coffeemakers: 28.7%
  • Toaster ovens: 22.5%
  • Cutlery/utensils: 38.8%

And the list goes on and on and on. What were these people doing before getting married, sitting on the floor and making toast in their broiler? If the median age for a woman to marry is 27, then doesn’t it stand to reason that she was living on her own prior to getting engaged? Why, after all of the gifts are given, are newlyweds going out and buying automatic coffeemakers? If anything it seems like today’s newlyweds would be starting out with two of everything from their respective apartments.

It makes sense that a married couple might need larger sheets (for their bigger bed) but a vacuum cleaner? Who knows? And “formal napkins”…who are these newlyweds kidding? Have you ever been to a friend’s house and used “formal napkins”? But maybe setting up house isn't what it's really about. As one woman we interviewed put it:

“Sometimes I just wanted to get married for the sole reason of forcing my friends to buy me tons and tons of useless gifts. I must’ve dropped thousands in the past few years on everyone else!”

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