Following a year when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a great deal of upheaval in the wedding industry, things are beginning to return to normal. However, there are some noticeable differences in how couples are registering for products and ultimately celebrating their nuptials.
Although governmental health restrictions that went into effect in the spring of 2020 put a crimp in the plans of many, couples were forced to be resourceful and retailers augmented long-standing traditions seen with wedding registry to give consumers new shopping options.
With the number of weddings expected to see an uptick in the months ahead, Susan Miller, senior vice president of Partner Relationships with MyRegistry.com, spoke with Kitchenware Today about the current state of the wedding business and how registry continues to be an important tool for happy couples and retailers.
KITCHENWARE TODAY: With many states relaxing COVID-19 restrictions what trends are you seeing with wedding ceremonies this year?
SUSAN MILLER: One of the things we are seeing is couples who had a small ceremony in 2020 this year planning what I’ll call a “sequel wedding” as a follow-up to invite people who could not attend last year. We are also seeing more outdoor ceremonies and celebrations along with a shift to non-traditional days such as Thursdays and Mondays. The nice thing for those with wedding venues and vendors is that it puts those days to good use.
KWT: What is the level of activity within wedding registry this year when compared to 2020?
SM: At the beginning of last year we did see registry activity prior to COVID hitting. The activity slowed down and stayed slow since couples didn’t know what to expect for the rest of 2020. The expectation this year is there will be a much more robust season for wedding gifting. And while wedding ceremonies may still be smaller than usual this year, people still want to do something to acknowledge the couple whether or not they attend the wedding. This will create selling opportunities for retailers.
KWT: Are there any noticeable differences or new trends in what couples are adding to their registries?
SM: We’re seeing couples add products to their registry that are more reflective of their lifestyle and interests. This includes items such as outdoor products, sporting equipment, electronics and home furnishings. When it comes to kitchenware, when you look back over a few years of data, there hasn’t been a big change in the most popular items. But what has changed more recently is the focus we’re seeing on registering for better quality products. More are seeing the value of investing in cutlery or a nice set of cookware. It makes for a better experience when cooking at home.
KWT: What are some of the most popular kitchenware products seen on registries this year?
SM: We continue to see a lot of the basics such as bakeware, mixing bowls, storage items and multi-purpose products. Within dinnerware, as in past years, we continue to see less of a focus on traditional place settings and more focus on items that allow couples to mix and match. They want products that offer form, function, versatility and durability. When looking at dinnerware, I do feel there is an opportunity for product suppliers to educate consumers about their products. Take bone china, for example. It’s a very durable product that can be used inside the home and outdoors. Some may feel it’s too fancy to use for a barbecue, but bone china is very sturdy and versatile.
KWT: Are there any differences with how retailers are utilizing or marketing registries?
SM: We continue to see huge increases in gift lists or wish lists that are not connected to weddings. These include birthdays, graduations, housewarmings and holidays. A gift should be about what the gift receiver wants and not what the gift giver wants to give. A wish list allows you to help people give you what you want. We have also seen retailers utilize registries as something more than just a sales tool for an individual’s event. Gift givers may not previously have had a relationship with that retailer and the wish list generates a new source of customers who are likely to make a self-purchase not connected to the registry. The lifetime value of that new customer can be several times greater than the original registry list. This is a great customer acquisition program.