The nation's wedding industry, which stood at 1.46 trillion yuan (US$210 billion) in 2017, is estimated to surge 24.66 percent year-on-year to reach 1.82 trillion yuan this year, and to surpass 3 trillion yuan by 2021, according to a report released by market research company ASKCI Consulting.
The growth comes despite fewer people getting married. Statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs showed that last year 10.59 million couples registered their marriage in China, down roughly 7 percent from 2016.
That marks four years of consecutive declines.
But as the post-1990s generation become the backbone in the industry, their higher consumption demands are driving them to spend more on their wedding. As such, the total consumption amount remains strong, industry insiders said.
"Although the demographic dividend is disappearing, the market potential is still huge as the nation possesses a huge population base," the ASKCI Consulting report said. "In addition, wedding industry demand remains at a high level. The increase in the amount per deal brings new impetus for the wedding industry."
Specifically, the industry is undergoing a transition toward a more fragmented model, covering wedding photography, honeymoon tourism, wedding planning, banquets and car rental, with each field stimulating consumption.
Jiang Xin, a 26-year-old office clerk in Beijing, held her wedding ceremony a few months ago, with a total cost of roughly 100,000 yuan. Jiang and her husband traveled to Indonesia to shoot their wedding photos. The four-day trip cost them 25,000 yuan.
"I think the price was fairly reasonable," she said.
According to Jiang, apart from the wedding ceremony and wedding photos, they also spent 170,000 yuan on their wedding car.
"Most of the spending was covered by our parents, and we were responsible for a small part. As both of us are the only child in the family, our parents want to give us the best wedding. After all, we only get married once," Jiang said.
A 2017 report by online wedding service provider Hunliji revealed that 42 percent of newly married couples spend 50,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan on their wedding, while 23 percent and 15 percent spend 100,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan and 20,000 yuan to 50,000 yuan, respectively. The remaining 5 percent spend over 300,000 yuan.
In terms of regions, newlyweds in Beijing take first place for wedding costs, coming in at 280,000 yuan on average. Newlyweds in Shanghai ranked second, spending 250,000 yuan on average, which is three times higher than the national average, according to the report.
Wedding costs have been rising continuously in recent years. Last year alone witnessed a 5 percent increase, the report showed. Among the costs, wedding ceremonies proved to be the most costly, taking up 40 percent of the total spending.
An average of 21.5 tables were set for the wedding banquet. Weddings in Wenzhou in East China's Zhejiang province ranked first with 52 tables, the report said.
For the dining cost per table, the average level was 3,385 yuan nationwide, although the amount varied in different cities. Shanghai took first place with an average price of 7,596 yuan per table, and Wenzhou and Beijing ranked second and third with average prices of 6,963 yuan and 6,542 yuan respectively.
The average cost per table in first-tier cities surged by 12.6 percent compared to that of 2016, the Hunliji report read.
Apart from the wedding ceremony, wedding jewelry, planning and photography, which are usually a must for modern couples, also cost considerable sums.
During the 2018 Wedding Industry Forum of China held in Suzhou, Jiangsu province in August, Shi Kangning, secretary-general of the Committee of Wedding Service Industries under the China Association of Social Workers, said: "About four to five years ago, we found that the conventional wedding service model had taken a hit as a result of many factors, such as the internet, hotels, personal studios, capital and the changes in taste among post-1990s couples."
"Market competition is fierce. In the past decade, as the demographic dividend has disappeared, numerous wedding companies went bankrupt," Shi said.
However, the wedding industry recovered from recession from last year, he said.
"Wedding service agencies began to adjust their strategies and tactics in product design, operation model, team building and marketing, etc," Shi said. "They have finally got out of the trough."
"In 2017, we were delighted to see that many traditional institutions that once faced crisis began to roar back in the transition. The industry potential remains huge," he said.