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India is a strong matrimony market: Murugavel Janakiraman

Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and CEO, Matrimony.com
Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and CEO, Matrimony.com

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop, albeit temporarily, on the big fat Indian weddings, it has in no way curtailed the search for the ideal life partner.

If the trends on Matrimony.com are anything to go by, the matrimony is on the rise. As shared by the company, registrations have increased by 30 per cent; even as the percentage of self-created profiles has increased from 63 per cent in February 2020 to more than 70 per cent currently.

Matrimony.com is the market leader with more than 60 per cent share. It currently has 4.6 million active profiles. The company recorded Rs 371.8 crore revenues in FY20, while profit after tax stood at Rs 29.5 crore.

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Seeking to help thousands of couples whose weddings have been delayed by the lockdown, BharatMatrimony recently launched a platform, ‘Home Weddings’, on MatrimonyBazaar to provide the entire range of COVID-safe wedding services. Home Weddings helps organise weddings at customers’ homes for 50 guests, while following all lockdown rules and regulations laid down by the Government. This service is open to the public, not just BharatMatrimony members.

BharatMatrimony has also launched a Live in-app video chatting feature to address the challenge of members currently being unable to meet in person outside home, due to the lockdown restrictions.

Matrimony.com claims that over 8 lakh users have shown interest by upgrading to the latest version of the BharatMatrimony app and a few lakh have used the video call feature.

In conversation with Adgully, Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and CEO, Matrimony.com, speaks about the growth of the matrimony market in India, especially in the COVID-19 times.

Classifieds on Matrimony is fairly old in India. The major portion of this has moved to digital from print and from other traditional channels. What are some of the innovations that you are working on to further grow the category?

About 10-12 million marriages take place every year in India and less than 10 per cent is through online. So, there’s plenty of scope in online matrimony. Mobile adoption has led to growth and today, more than 4.5 million of our active members are on our mobile apps. We have mobile apps for major regional and community services. Besides, we have 140 retail outlets which serve as customer touchpoints. Together with the adoption of digital technologies and focussed marketing, we continue to grow the category as the market leader. To tap into the huge $56 billion marriage services market in India, the company also forayed into wedding services with MatrimonyBazaar – the wedding services platform, and Mandap.com – the largest wedding venue booking platform.

What about the new generation that believes in dating leading up to the decision to get married? Apps like Tinder have become popular. How is Bharat Matrimony countering this challenge?

Culturally, Indians believe in matrimony. India is a strong matrimony market. Matrimony.com’s Rs 371.8 crore revenue in FY20 with Rs 29.5 crore PAT and 4.5 million active members are a strong testimony to that. For Indians, marriage is the ultimate goal of a relationship. Dating apps are a different category. If you look at it, majority of the dating service users are less than 24 years and for matrimony, it is 24 to 30 years. Culturally, dating is not an accepted social practice, except in few urban cities. It is viewed as casual, not serious. Dating registrations have a skew towards males, whereas in online matrimony more than 30 per cent are female registrants. Besides, online matrimony is a commitment for marriage, while dating is exploratory in nature.

How has the traffic been impacted in the last few months, especially when there have been job cuts, income stagnation and weddings getting postponed due to the pandemic? What kind of trends have you noticed and how do you see it moving the next 6 to 9 months?

Our registrations have been up 30 per cent during the lockdown. In fact, the percentage of self-created profiles has increased from 63 per cent in February to more than 70 per cent now. This is due to the fact that young professionals have a lot of time to think and plan their future, more time due to lack of commute, no stepping out of home for entertainment/ shopping, parents and family being together helps shortlist and start the conversations with prospects. Busy professionals now have the time to think about marriage. As for the wedding market, smaller weddings will be normal for some time.

Apart from matrimony classifieds, you have a wedding marketplace Matrimony Bazaar? How’s that doing? Post COVID-19, how do you see it evolving, given that weddings are getting postponed or scaled down?

Matrimony Bazaar is India’s largest wedding planning marketplace that provides wedding services, ranging from catering to clothing. The platform has over 22,000 verified wedding service providers across 37 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi and Bengaluru. Recently, we partnered with CRISIL to verify the wedding vendors. The wedding services market is just beginning to restart.

To help thousands of couples whose weddings have been delayed by the lockdown, “Home Weddings” was launched on Matrimony Bazaar. This helps organise weddings at customers’ homes for 50 guests and provides the entire range of COVID-safe wedding services – right from catering to makeup, including purohits at the doorstep, to help couples happily tie the knot.

BharatMatrimony is associated with a lot of traditional ways of matching along religion and community lines. Do you notice any trend here? If yes, how are you facilitating inter community marriages?

A majority of Indian marriages happen within the community. We offer a platform that brings members together, ultimately it is their choice.

What kind of campaign have you been running to maintain awareness and promote the sites? How have you been approaching your media strategy? With digital moving on the fast lane, will you be focussing more on digital?

For BharatMatrimony, we’ve been running the Find Your Equal campaign with MS Dhoni as our ambassador; for EliteMatrimony, we’ve been running our national campaigns where actor Madhavan is our ambassador, besides our regular regional campaigns are on. We have optimised our TV spends and enhanced our investment in digital during this period.

Marketing
@adgully

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