More Retailers Turning Their Eyes to the Bride

Retailers are always looking to reach more customers, and as more non-bridal stores extend their reach to target brides (J. Crew and soon Urban Outfitters), it seems like the wedding industry could be what they’re looking for. In fact, jewelry company Miriam Haskell, a bridal favorite for decades, is unveiling a vintage-styled capsule collection for J. Crew, retailing from $150 to $1,400. The line will debut at the retailer’s new Manhattan bridal boutique, opening this month.

Urban Outfitters, meanwhile, is targeting hipster brides with an upcoming (and still-to-be-named) bridal website featuring dresses, accessories and even bridal planning services. Upscale website Net-a-porter.com has a wedding boutique where brides can search for dresses and accessories according to their personal style.

The timing could be a match made in heaven. Research company IBISWorld’s report shows that the wedding industry, while slow at the moment, is ready for a rebound next year.

“In 2010, the wedding industry will remain a difficult market with high unemployment and continued discomfort coming out of the worst recession in many years,” explained Toon van Beeck, senior analyst with IBISWorld. “Couples will continue to put off wedding plans this year, but 2011 is expected to be much stronger, as the economy will be in a better position than it is now or was in 2009. It’s for this reason, companies like Urban Outfitters may be aiming to capitalize on a strong rebounding wedding market, with a number of couples looking to 2011 and 2012 to tie the knot.”

The continued troubled economy throughout 2010 will see average wedding costs remain “low,” falling by an expected 4% to $19,200, from the $20,000 reported in 2009. As a result, the total wedding market is expected to be worth $42.73 billion (which excludes honeymoons). However, the wedding industry in 2011 will be much stronger, as the improved economy will see couples increase their average wedding spend, and therefore more will wed. This will push the wedding market up by an expected 15.5% to $49.3 billion.

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