Believers believe that marriages are made in heaven. But Matrimony.com’s (Bharat Matrimony’s parent company) Murugavel Janakiraman knows better. He knows that at the end of all of it, it is the event on Earth which matters. And in putting together the pieces, all of which come together to form the perfect wedding, well, that’s where the money is. So, not a surprise that the marriage matchmaking portal has been quietly, over the last three years, building a new business vertical called ‘Marriage Services”. It starts once you are matched. It ends once you are exhausted.
You needn’t look far for an analogy. Matrimony is doing the same thing that Zomato did with restaurant listings when it moved to food ordering. That said, getting into ancillary services is as old as the concept of business itself. So, Matrimony is now looking to capitalise on all the matches it makes. To be specific, the company says that it has 78,000 ‘success stories’, as of third quarter of FY 2018. Back of the envelope calculation, that’s 8666 matches a month. With 288 matches a day, 12 matches every hour. To these matches, the marriage services segment will sell wedding photography, catering, decorations, venues, stylists and beauticians. The works. “When we started matchmaking, it was completely unorganised,” says Janakiraman. “And we see a similar opportunity with these services as well.”
The opportunity is there for the taking. It is estimated that there will be more than 12 million weddings in India per year till 2025, according to a KPMG report. The 2011 census says that 63% of the unmarried population in the country falls within the “marriageable age” of 18-24 years—the age group in which the majority of the Indian population gets married. As of 2014, the marriage services industry was estimated to be around Rs 3,29,000 crore ($49.45 billion). An industry that has more event planners per pin code than auspicious dates. On its part, Matrimony.com is trying to stitch up this fragmented business with its three verticals:
- An end-to-end photography vertical.
- Matrimony Bazaar – An assisted commerce vertical which allows couples and families to choose catering services, apparel and jewellery, and decoration services.
- Matrimony Mandaps – And finally, a venue booking platform.
For the December quarter, the marriage services segment posted revenues of Rs 3.93 crore ($591,000), an increase of 53.7% year-on-year (YoY). In the preceding quarter, the segment had revenues of Rs 4.6 crore($691,000), again, growing 52.6% YoY. According to Matrimony.com’s “Draft Red Herring Prospectus” report, a majority of the expenditure is made on catering, decorations and finding a venue.
That said, the venue booking platform is only a year old and the assisted commerce vertical is even younger.