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Millennial Women: Traditional Wedding Dress Shopping No More

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 Millennial Marketing Insight from HypeLife Brands: "Millennial Women: Traditional Wedding Dress Shopping No More"

Bridal Stores Taking a Hit with the Changing Tastes of Millennial Women

Selecting a wedding dress is a pivotal part of planning a wedding and for Millennial women, that is no different.

But traditional brick-and-mortar bridal stores such as David’s Bridal are seeing a drastic decline in their sales due to the changing tastes of Millennial brides. They are choosing casual wedding dresses over more high-fashion designer dresses.

Credit-rating agency Moody’s announced that David’s Bridal has shifted from being stable to negative over the past few years due to a plunge in sales and the number of brides visiting their stores. With rising competition among online retailers who offer budget-friendly wedding dress options, traditional bridal stores are at a loss unless they change their strategy for competing.

Millennial Women Choosing Casual Off-the-Rack Bridal Dresses

Instead of spending on a high-priced designer wedding dress, Millennial women are seeking casual and cost-friendly alternatives. This is partly due to the average cost of weddings reaching record highs at $35,329, according to a recent study conducted by the Knot. With rising wedding costs, brides are becoming more cost-conscious and looking for off-the-rack dresses for their big day instead.

Millennial women are finding more affordable casual dress options at retailers such as H&M, Anthropologie, and Asos, making it difficult for traditional bridal stores like David’s Bridal to compete on price alone. Up to now, the only way to compete was to slash prices -- which has not solved their problem; Millennials are savvier than this.

The wedding dress market is becoming saturated with low-cost wedding dress options that are ready-to-wear, making it possible for Millennial brides to now easily shop on a budget when selecting their wedding dress.

Alfred Angelo, a Florida-based bridal boutique, is just one casualty in Millennials' changing tastes: they could not compete with the low priced off-the-rack dresses amid a flurry of online competition and filed for bankruptcy this past July.

Traditional Bridal Stores Fighting to Stay Relevant

Millennial women are choosing to be economical when selecting their wedding gowns and are finding great deals online, where they prefer to shop. To stay alive among the low-cost online retailers, David’s Bridal has tried to provide wedding dresses in the $39 - $400 range. Still, releasing cost-conscious options alone has not proven successful or profitable for them.

To adapt to the changing preferences of Millennial brides, David’s Bridal is coming to grips with the fact that they must change their marketing efforts and invest in digital platforms to increase the brides' overall shopping experience...something Millennials have come to expect from nearly every brand catering to them.

The strategy change needed across the entire bridal industry is to be a visible choice when a Millennial bride searches online for a wedding dress. Once the connection has been made with the bride online, then the stage is set to draw her into the physical bridal store, speaking to Millennials' love for "webrooming."

Traditional bridal stores must also bump up their cool factor for this new generation of consumers and communicate that they are not just a warehouse for wedding gowns. If they can combine a memorable experience with competitive prices the Millennial woman is searching for, then they have a chance to stay afloat.

Millennial brides are looking for simple and low priced options when picking out the "one" wedding dress that fits them. The question is: will your bridal brand make their list?