Declining Marriage Rate Threatens China’s Traditional Wedding Candy Stores

Is the crisis due to fewer young people getting married, or their health-conscious lifestyles?

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In China, wedding candy is an essential part of marriage celebrations. Newlyweds meticulously package a variety of candies, ensuring that they are distributed in an even number for good luck. Candy names are also carefully chosen to be homophones with expressions of good luck and good fortune. The sweetness of the candy is meant to signify the happiness and success of a marriage.

However, demand for wedding candy has declined sharply due to China’s falling marriage rate. Between 2013 and 2022, the number of marriages in China dropped from 10 million couples to below 7 million. Although 2023 saw a slight increase, the pause in wedding celebrations during the COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant setback to the wedding candy industry.


Candy shops on Zigu Street, Nanchang, Jiangxi. Photo via Sohu.

This downturn is evident in traditional wedding candy shops. Zigu Street in Nanchang, known as Wedding Candy Street, saw a boom in the 1980s. Thanks in part to its location next to Wanshou Palace, a Daoist temple, the street hosted more than 20 candy shops. Xu Guoling has run a store there for over 20 years. During peak times, she could earn up to 80,000 RMB a day. These days, revenue has gone down, and only 8 candy shops remain on the street.


Posts on Xiaohongshu sharing suggestions on how to reduce wedding candy costs.

Some netizens argue that poor sales of wedding candy may be best understood not only in terms of the number of marriage registrations, but also declining interest in organizing large wedding banquets. Regardless, the struggle of the offline wedding candy economy is a nationwide issue. Healthy eating trends mean that candy is no longer everyone’s first choice for wedding favors, and when young people do buy wedding candy, they prefer to buy affordable sets online. This ongoing shift highlights the challenges faced by traditional wedding candy businesses in adapting to changing consumer preferences and societal trends.

Banner image via Xinhua Net.

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