The Nigerian wedding industry is massive. Couples typically spend big bucks to make sure their special day is perfect. However, the COVID-19 pandemic could cause a loss of millions, and leave small businesses with no way to support themselves.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy in terms of nominal GDP, and the wedding industry contributes greatly to this. Using statistics from 2017, a report from TNS Global suggests that the industry could be worth as much as $17 million.
“The Nigerian events industry is estimated to be among the most extravagant in the world. According to TNS Global, 17 million dollars was spent on parties in Lagos over a five months period in 2013. Statistics have it that an average Nigerian company or middle-class family spends over 15,000 dollars per event,” said Professor Okoli Fidelis Chukwuma.
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According to Nairametrics, weddings can cost anywhere between half a million Naira (R22 263) to over 100 million Naira (R4 452 766) depending on the financial background of each couple. These events are typically massive, with hundreds of guests in attendance.
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With the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this industry has essentially been halted. Large public gatherings are currently not allowed, forcing many couples to tie the knot online through video conferencing platforms.
Those who do continue with in-person weddings have minimised their big days considerably. CEO of event management firm Unik Ushering Agency, Aderonke Adebamibola told Naiametrics that business has slowed down as a result.
“Now, we even have to convince them to use one or two ushers for their events because they believe they don’t need ushers for 20 or 30 guests. Caterers cannot even cook a half bag of rice now because of the number of guests. This means that they are also paid less for their services, even if they expend the same energy and time” said Adebamibola to Nairametrics.
Nigeria has 29 286 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 11 828 recovered and 654 deaths.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of the wedding industry, and many will struggle to fit the new normal.
Feature image: Unsplash