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Studies Show More and More Brides are Buying their Wedding Dresses Online

Studies show that more and more brides are ditching canvassing the physical stores to buy their wedding dresses. Instead, they go to online stores that offer high-quality clothes at affordable rates.

The Survey

The famous wedding site TheKnot.com conducted a survey on its thousands of users and customers to determine the reasons why most brides-to-be prefer to shop their dresses online compared to physical stores. One of its users named Mary Thornally revealed she was dreading the experience of finding her wedding dress and paying a hefty amount of money. Thornally said how she and her sister originally planned to look around the stores to find their perfect dresses.

However, the thought of spending time wandering endlessly through hundreds of boutiques felt daunting to her. She also didn’t want to get pressured to try dresses and make a decision right away.

The emergence of online retail, social media promotion, alternative choices, personalized fashion trends, and declining marriage rates pose a serious threat to the survival of brick and mortar wedding stores.

According to TheKnot.com, the average price for wedding gowns and alterations cost $1,509 per bride as of 2017. Moreover, the high cost of wedding dresses in the physical stores forced Thornally to find a practical alternative to buy a cheaper dress since she was drowning in her student loan debt.

This prompted her to browse the internet for wedding dresses. She ended up buying her dress for only $180 and got it tailored for $160. Despite the cheaper price, she was thrilled with the quality of the dress. She claimed she saved more money compared to purchasing in physical stores.

The Struggle

As more and more customers like Thornally are embracing online stores and their cheaper rates, the physical stores struggle to adapt to their competitors. The website also compiled the most notable wedding store companies that suffer hurdles due to the rise of online wedding retailers.

David’s Bridal

This company was once hailed as the epitome of wedding business in the United States before the emergence of online wedding retailers.

David’s Bridal has more than 300 physical stores across the country and an online website that generated an estimated combined annual revenue of $791 million. Despite the astounding numbers, the company is now facing serious financial challenges due to the fall of their sales.

They hired the restructuring adviser Evercore recently to optimize its current weak performance and liquidity to keep up with their competitors.

The Gap

The company also halted its Weddington Way brand in 2017. The company sold their wedding and bridesmaid dresses primarily at Banana Republic locations.


J.Crew also ended their bridal wear line sometime in the last quarter of 2016. Many wedding retailers like Alfred Angelo Bridal have also gone out of business due to the low sales. The company closed more than 60 of its stores in 2017.

The New Trend

According to IBISWorld, most wedding retailers struggle to increase their revenue since it makes up 43% of the total industry’s revenue. Even if they projected high sales in wedding accessories or high school prom dresses, it’s still not enough to keep their businesses standing.

The rise of online retailers offering cheaper prices and customized dresses prompted most brides to abandon traditional gowns altogether. Aside from buying cheap wedding dresses online, the emergence of rent a gown have also dwindled the physical wedding stores’ sales and profit.

However, this might be a good news for consumers who are seeking customized dresses since they’ll have more freedom and choice in choosing their wedding dresses. Aside from that, these consumers get to enjoy the stunning deals and discounts they get from online wedding stores. Aside from that, the marriage rates in America continues to decline as the years go by.

The chain of student debt restricts their purchasing power, causing them to restrict their finances and delay their life goals like marriage.

The number of Americans marrying declined at 6.9% in 2016 compared to 8.2% in 2000. According to the experts, this is due to the burden most millennials face in paying off their student debt. According to TheKnot, physical stores must also launch their own eCommerce website to keep up with their competitors.

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  • Posted on January 15, 2020