This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday, which means that this weekend (Sat., 2/10 & Sun., 2/11) will likely see an increase in Valentine’s Day spending and traffic, compared to weekend averages for the year.
Our analysts predict that retailers will benefit on the day before and the day of Valentine’s Day, as love-struck last-minute shoppers create swells of Valentine’s Day spending and traffic activity at florists, clothing stores, confectioners, jewelers, and food stores.
Valentine’s Day Goes Global
In both the US and Europe, February brings about significant spikes in Valentine’s Day spending. In fact, NRF’s survey data indicates that shoppers rank Valentine’s Day as their fourth largest holiday-based occasion for spending of the year — shoppers are expected to spend approximately $136.
Valentine’s Day spending follows a similar trend in Europe, where it’s is widely considered to be the fourth most important retail event, after Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. Valentine’s Day romance certainly brings out a generous nature in shoppers: research by Groupon in 2017 found that people in the UK will spend almost £50 on their loved ones, while those in France, Italy and Spain are expected to spend on average £110. People in Germany aim to spend around £84 on their loved ones, Groupon found.
This all adds up to a hearty total spend: people across the UK were estimated to have shelled out close to £1 billion on gifts and cards last Valentine’s Day, according to GlobalData Retail.
Sharing the love in-store
But before we get too caught up in Valentine’s sales opportunities, it’s worth remembering that retailers aren’t the only benefactors of this unbridled passion for spending on partners, wives, husbands, girlfriends, and boyfriends. The reality is that, in recent years, consumers tend to lean toward spending on experiences and activities — such as dining out, weekends away, and cultural events. That’s not to say that shoppers are necessarily cutting back on retail spending, but they have been increasing their spend on services.
Advice to Retailers? Ramp up the romance
Whether using social media or shop windows, retailers are in an advantageous position to deliver experiences in their stores and create a buzz around emotive events – e.g., Valentine’s Day. For example, in 2017, Paperchase ran a cross-channel campaign around #loveweek that included card-making workshops in stores. The retailer is repeating the Valentine’s crafting idea in flagship city outlets again this year.
Anything that a retailer can do to remind shoppers how their merchandise will contribute to an experience may ATS. Take Marks & Spencer, which is cleverly merchandising men’s clothing and toiletry gifts suggestions alongside bottles of Prosecco in large city stores, aiming to boost spending on male gifts.
Data helps love blossom
Finally, it never hurts to remember that behind the beautifully displayed chocolate boxes and alluring underwear sets, retail science should be powering Cupid’s Bow. We know that store traffic data, combined with historic sales data and demographic insights can help retailers plan accurately for key sales events. Aside from driving conversions, a positive store experience can lead to smitten customers, who will cement a long-term relationship with a brand.
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