The lockdown has caused a lot of problems for businesses across all sectors, but when it comes to matrimonial websites it is an exception, as they have witnessed a growth in the number of new customers. With most people confined to their houses amid lockdown, they are spending more time on online matrimonial websites browsing in order to find prospective partners.
The Covid 19 Pandemic has helped matrimonial sites like Shaadi.com, Matrimony.com and Jeevansathi in garnering more customers. From offering special schemes to helping the couples in getting married virtually amid lockdown these websites are not leaving any stone unturned to attract more customer.
According to Murugan Janakiraman, the founder and CEO of Matrimony.com receives an average of 14,000 to 15,000 registration in a day, but after the lockdown there has been a 30% increase in the number of registrations on their site. Similarly, Shaadi.com has also seen a 20% rise in the new customer registration during the lockdown period.
Reasons for the growth in Matrimonial Sites
One of the main reasons behind the rise is that a majority of the professionals are working from home and have nowhere to go due to lockdown, they have ample time in hand. Which was not possible earlier, due to hectic working hours and time constraints making youngsters delay their marriage. Time which is being utilized in browsing partners online and shortlisting profiles.
Janakiraman says that, “The engagement level of customers and profile acquisitions on our site is growing. To meet the rising demand, we have leveraged our services also.” The companies are providing special offers are being provided wherein customers won’t have to pay for the lockdown days, and their memberships will be extended automatically.
Shaadi.com is utilizing the opportunity to enhance it reach among customers by focusing more on social media campaigns. Besides in order to help the couples who were not able to tie knot due to lockdown, Shaadi.com has started a novel concept of “wedding from home”. The websites are providing free of cost services for arranging weddings virtually for couples who want to get married during the lockdown.
They help in organizing sangeet performances by friends to even finding priests. They also arrange marriages via video call, the website is taking measures to provide a complete marriage experience to couples. The weddings are live streamed and the family and friends can join from across the country.
The growth in traffic and registration has led to positive growth in revenue as well it is not linear, but still positive. In the arranged marriage set-up, most users consult their families before making decisions; and hence, in pre-Covid times, most of our traction came on weekends. Now, we see that traffic is almost evenly distributed on weekdays, too.
Jeevansathi, which is a subsidiary of Info Edge, revenue in April grew at 11 percent year-on-year (YoY), according to a regulatory filing by the company. Jeevansathi’s collections grew around Rs 23.8 crore Q4 FY20 from Rs 19.8 crore in Q4 FY19. There was some impact in March that restricted the growth of revenue for Jeevansathi to 20 percent. Until mid-March, it was growing at 26 percent.
Jeevansathi was one of the only business that grew throughout the lockdown as its billings grew by 13% in Q1 and in the month of July and august the billing growth has been even better. In august the billing grew up to 23%. During the lockdown the website saw more registrations and activity on the platform. Jeevansathi has upped their marketing spend leading to more new users.
BharatMatrimony leads the country’s organized online matchmaking sector with a 60% market share, Shaadi.com has 30% while Jeevansathi holds 10%. In addition to this. In addition to these, there are a hundreds of regional, language/community-based websites and portals. All players put together, country’s online matchmaking sector is pegged at Rs. 1,000 crore.
The Video Feature
From virtual weddings to video calling, matrimonial sites are innovating matchmaking ways and this is resulting in growth of business even during lockdown days. Shaadi.com which is one of the most popular matrimonial website in India, launched a video calling feature that potential brides and grooms can use to interact with each other at a time when people are avoiding in person meeting due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Shaadi.com on the first day of the launch, the service was used by almost 75,000 users on the next day over 100,000 people tried the feature. In less than a month, over 500,000 users have made video calls. India largest match matching company which owns Matrimony.com and jeevansathi.com owned by internet major Info edge. Info Edge, have also witnessed significant traffic to their video calling service as people try to reconcile with their lives using technology.
Video calling can help take these discussions a step forward, however not many would be comfortable I sharing their Skype ids or Whatsapp numbers with complete strangers, that is where this option comes in handy. Bharat Matrimony takes it one step further, as they allow women to call whomever they want to while restricting men to only receiving calls and calling people with whom they have matched.
Experts say this added feature will help empower women. “It might address the phenomenon of men stalking women. Restricting men’s ownership of communication is very welcome,” said Madhavi Menon, director of centre for studies in gender and sexuality at Ashoka University. This feature can help matchmaking platforms deepen their engagement with users, experts said.
Target audience of matrimonial sites during pandemic
Indians who are either divorced or have lost their partner are also now thinking of another partner. Rohan Mathur, the chief business officer at Jeevansathi said that, “In the last two months we have also seen an increase in second marriage profiles and the year on year growth has doubled. Additionally the growth seen in second marriage profiles during Covid 19 has outdated the overall platform growth”. Another group of people increasing the number of users for these matrimonial websites are the working people that are single.
Adhish Zaveri, the Marketing Director of shaadi.com says that, “Singles were active during pre-Covid days, too, on the platform, and 70 percent of our profiles were made by them. Covid-19 period has certainly accentuated this. Engagement on Shaadi.com in small cities is up by 30-35 percent. The weddings now can be organized like a small intimate one.
The Rise of Fake Profile
One of the negative that comes with the increase number of users is the fake profiles. The number of signups has gone up by an average of 400% week on week from what it was before Covid 19 which unfortunately includes an increase in the number of fake profiles. To counter them, the websites are introducing more advanced profile filtering and privacy controls technology.
The trend of increasing signups is also visible on EliteMatrimony which caters to the people with high networth and celebrities. In India, about 60 million people are looking for life partners at any given time, out of which 10 to 12 million people get married a year which constitute 24 million couples. When it comes to online matchmaking, only six to seven million register out of which only 20% of them find a match.