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How COVID has changed the way Indians marry

By SAURABH GOSWAMI
April 01, 2021 09:24 IST
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Single Indians will continue to meet prospects over video calls even in a post coronavirus world, predicts Saurabh Goswami, founder-director, Ultra Rich Match, a niche matchmaking company.

How online matrimony changed during the pandemic

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: PTI Photo

Arranged marriage isn't a trend, it is a tradition in India. A tradition which has adapted itself to flourish with the tech-savvy millennia in the form of online matrimonials.

While the turn of the 21st century saw the decline of local pandits and the neighbourhood match-making aunties and rise of online platforms, the online matrimonial business has taken a huge leap since the last few years.

Today, all you need is an Internet connection to find hundreds of prospects.

Due to COVID-19, finding a match online has transformed radically due to technological innovations.

As many as 60 million Indians are searching for a life-partner, out of which 6 million to 7 million have registered online on 1,500 matrimonial Web sites, making online matrimonials a ₹10 billion industry.

While most businesses have struggled to strive during the difficult Covid period, the online matrimonial business is clearly one of the few which has thrived.

Due to the business restrictions during the lockdown, users engaged in online matrimony services to find their match via voice and video calling.

Here are a few wedding trends likely to be seen post Covid as well:

1. Online registrations

An unimagined upside to the lockdown was that it gave people time to sit down and consider the matrimonial aspect with leisure.

This is what resulted in the sudden increase in enquiries and registrations.

Some of the bigger players in this industry have reported 20% to 30% increase in the number of registrations and revenue growth of 5% to 6% during the first quarter of FY 2020-2021.

Needless to say, 2021 will continue to witness a spurt in young Indians registering online for matrimony services.

2. Voice over video

In late 2019, the matrimony businesses saw a huge increase in video call connections vis-à-vis voice calls.

Several Web sites have also made video calling a valuable option to know and meet families while staying at the comfort of their home.

The usage of video calls increased up to almost three times since the lockdown started, confirming that single Indians will continue to meet prospects over video calls even in a post coronavirus world, indicating a new-normal for online matrimony portals.

3. Preference of within-city profiles

Social distancing meant that people couldn’t travel out for meetings or plan a date.

This created a preference towards the local profiles, which indirectly led to more meetings.

Since these were local profiles, families were able to get references which lead to better prospect of finalisation.

Going forward, it wouldn't be surprising to see youngsters choose a prospective partner within the same city or neighbourhood.

4. Review of existing prospects

Over 80% of the matches finalised by top matrimony players during the lockdown were among already existing clients!

As people got time to review the existing profiles, perhaps they realised that they were too hasty in rejecting them earlier.

There were numerous cases of virtual re-meetings which ended up working favourably for both families.

5. Delayed, lavish weddings

More than half of the couples who found their match online have postponed their weddings for late 2021.

Even those who got married in the restricted settings in 2020 are planning on organising a lavish reception as soon as things get better.

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