Battling for Brides

Battling for Brides

Loved this article from the Wall Street Journal on the battle for bride dollars. Basically the wedding magazines still standing (some folded during the ad recession of 2009) are battling each other to grab the soon-to-be-married market. And, despite the fact that revenues for U.S. wedding magazines plunged 30% last year, there are plans to launch yet more websites and magazines.

 What gives? Well, obviously the wedding market is an enduring one, and one that isn’t going away anytime soon. I mean, despite all the articles about frugal brides and recession weddings, the average wedding bash still cost something close to $20,000 last year  (according to industry stats gather The Wedding Report, it was $21,914  in 2008, and they figure it fell close to 10% in 2009). With 2 million plus weddings out there, that’s still close to a $60 billion market.

 But is it a growth market? Well, one way to judge is to look at the demographics. The average age of a first time bride in the U.S. was 25.3 in 2005 (it’s been around that since the early 1990s). So…if women (and let’s face it, they’re the ones buying Martha Stewart Weddings) keep getting married around the age of 25, and if the  number of 25 year olds is on the upswing, then you probably do have demographics in your favor.

And the verdict is…bring on the champagne!

Call them the tail end of the echo boom or the secoond wave of Generation Y or whatever you want, but there are a ton of babies born during the 1980s who will be hitting that all important twentysomething mark soon.

As the graphic shows, the number of 25 year olds in the U.S. will go from a measly 2.07 million in 2010 to about 2.24 million by 2015. That’s growth of 1.6% or an extra 335,000  brides to go after each and every year (calculations are by me, based on data from the U.S. Deparment of the Census website).

The number of potential brides is climbing - for now.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that post-2016, the number of prime-aged brides will fall precipitously. That’s thanks to lower numbers of babies born to a more slender Generation Y cohort.

All in all, it means those magazines that find their niche in the next five years will be battling to hold on to it in the five years after that. 

Of course, the truly patient will hold on to their bouquets and wait for the boomer grandchidren, who will start getting married in force around the 2030s.

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