Whether you’re in a relationship or riding solo, it’s difficult to escape the love in the air — Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. This translates into romantic date-night deals, gift guides a plenty and an increase in consumer spending. But just how much and on what, exactly?
According to the USA’s National Retail Federation, consumers in love are expected to spend £21.5 billion this Valentine’s Day — up 8% over last year. Even with the cost of living crisis and looming recession, this year’s sales are projected to be one of the highest ever on record. Post-pandemic, consumers want to live life to the fullest, and this means making more memorable life experiences and spending more time with their SOs. All in all it’s going to be a strong Valentine’s Day for retailers.
Interestingly, the NRF stated that out of the 7,616 adults surveyed who don’t plan to celebrate, 28% still plan to mark the occasion. This tells us that mindsets are shifting regarding this February holiday — it's not all about being coupled up anymore. Instead, more and more consumers are celebrating all kinds of relationships and love.
Self-care and self-love have officially entered the consumer conversation: data demonstrates that 11% of men and 12% of women plan to treat themselves this month. Hence why One Hundred Shoreditch has curated 'No Ordinary Love', a unique self-love pop-up shop at the East London hotel, collaborating with brands such as ILOH for sexual health and wellness products (designed by women for women), Miss Crofton for ethically made lingerie, flowers from Sophie Powell, cards from Katie Leamon, fragrance from Vyrao and books from Natalie Lee AKA @stylemesunday.
And then there’s Galentine’s Day, celebrating all things fierce and fabulous about female friendships on February 13th. So if you’re a brand looking to market this month, there are plenty of ways to feel and share the love with your community.
OK, but what are they buying? Ecommerce specialist Bloomreach’s recent research states that this year’s Valentine’s retail sales will see an increased focus on health. Consumers are making wellness and mental health a priority, and so naturally, they want the people they care about to be healthy too. “These trends are in stark contrast to retailers’ customary promotions at this time of the year, which usually centre around Valentine’s Day gifts for a significant other,” states Brian Walker, Bloomreach’s chief strategy officer. This year, retailers would do well to promote products that will enable consumers to fall in love with themselves again.”
And then... there’s the chocolate! Data tells us that the yummy, mostly heart-shaped, confectionery gift came out on top in 2021 and 2022. As does the NRF, which states that the most popular gift choice is candy at 56%, followed by greeting cards at 40% and flowers at 37%. Last year, however, chocolate and candy gifts earned 14% more revenue, but units sold and product views dipped a little. The retail giant goes on to say that GODIVA, Dove and Lindt will be the leading chocolatiers on Valentine’s Day, each selling over 5,000 units in January 2022 — a combined revenue of approximately £370 thousand. However, consumers are also on the hunt for boutique, independent brands, and that 'something special' for their significant other. The opportunity for independent brands to capture this demand is significant.
As well as chocolate’s sweet sentiment, consumer demand suggests jewellery will be a top gift for V-day this year. As per. Another quintessential gift? Flowers. Compared to Valentine’s Day shopping patterns in the past, Amazon’s fresh flowers and plant category’s sales have exceeded expectations: units sold are up 43% with revenue increasing an impressive 84%.
Saying this, consumers are a more conscious bunch than ever before. Sustainability and the environmental ethics of gifts come into purchasing decisions, and this trend has some lovers shunning roses altogether — after a quick look at the environmental impact of a dozen long-stemmed beauties. Instead, they’re buying plants for their partners, dried bouquets, or other kinds of flowers that are in season and do not need to be imported. Ask your florist for snowdrops, cyclamen, narcissi, hyacinths, tulips and winter-flowering blossoms as alternatives to roses. Why not even look into a flower subscription service like Appear Here’s favourite Freddie’s Flowers — another trend seeing an increase year on year for Valentine’s.
Another brand launching with Appear Here in time for the big day is London-based designer and illustrator, Karen Mabon. The brand’s pop-up shop will take over the Great Windmill Street space in Soho, and plans to give away a bouquet of flowers with every purchase — a clever campaign considering the increased price points and potential supply shortage.
At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day may seem like a made-up holiday, specifically designed for corporate greed, however, the continuous bad-news cycle, climate change, cost of living and recent layoffs have left many of us need a little more love and appreciation. V-day is a welcomed distraction and a great excuse to celebrate, don’t you think?