In many aspects of our lives, we are seeing our tasks transform from offline to online – even our daily newspapers have been replaced by news apps. However, organising a wedding is different – it has always revolved around physical processes. Brides must try on their dresses, grooms must have suit fittings and having a tasting session at your wedding venue is all part of the build-up to the big day. But with new technologies and social media apps, is it time for the wedding industry to make a transition into the digital world?
Retailer of stunning halo engagement rings, Angelic Diamonds, have done research surrounding the digital shift and discussed whether it could be time for the wedding industry to take the online plunge.
How digital is our future?
Research revealed that in the last twelve months, approximately 87% of UK consumers have bought at least one product online – with online sales increasing 21.3% in the year 2016, and forecast to increase by 30% by the end of 2017.
The wedding industry has already seen the effects of digitalisation, social media apps such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are used as sources of inspiration for couples. Modern couples are now using new technology when wedding planning. In fact, 42% of people use social media to plan their wedding – with 41% of brides following photographers on social media, 37% of brides following venues and 14% following florists.
Mobile devices are being used for planning the big day too - according to The Huffington Post, around 6 out of 10 brides are actively planning their weddings through their mobiles: they research gowns (61% of brides, up from 27% in 2011) and search for wedding vendors (57% of brides, up from 22% in 2011).
When searching for wedding day inspiration, social media apps act as platforms for advertisement for wedding planners, venues, florists and other wedding suppliers to showcase what they have to offer. Instagram and Pinterest, which is used by 64% of brides, have now become a couple’s go to platform for all their inspiration, a digital alternative to a wedding fair. Suppliers who have not yet invested time into creating a social media profile for their business could be missing out on free exposure.
The use of social media doesn’t stop at the planning stages either – 27% of modern couple said that they would create a hashtag for their special day.
As the wedding industry appears to be different to all the rest, it is possible that it will survive offline – unlike other retailers. Whilst it is likely that companies will need to go digital at some stage to stay up to date with the latest technologies, and keep their head in the game, there might always be a place for them offline within the industry.
During the organisation of a wedding, it becomes increasingly apparent how much the couple need to physically experience. From venues and food tasting, to wedding dress and suit fittings, the industry might struggle to operate solely online, because of the need for physical processes. Wedding fairs have been around for centuries, and there is a reason for that; whilst modern couples use social media for visual inspiration, wedding fairs are still a great way for suppliers to engage face-to-face with potential customers. For most people, their wedding day is the biggest day of their lives so it’s important that they can speak face-to-face with suppliers, and physically see what they have to offer.
There is no avoiding the fact that couples are currently and will continue to use digital platforms for wedding inspiration and to ease some pressures off the planning process. However, the industry is not yet ready to wipe out all traditional methods of wedding planning. There’s no question that there is still a demand for the physical processes. Maybe, it’s just time for suppliers and other industry professionals to use digital as a means to extend their business and gain more exposure.