Why Valentine’s Day Is Big Business for Marketing

red rose on wood floow - black and white

“Roses are red, violets are blue. If you didn’t see the stats, you’d never think them true!”

Valentine’s Day is big business and an epoch for consumer spending.   So much so, that advertisers in the niche markets have been subtly making suggestions to you (thanks to Google AdWords) since the beginning of January.   Immediately following December holiday’s, marketers in floral design, perfume, lingerie, chocolate and confections, vacation destinations, restaurants and hotels kick it into high-gear to carve out their piece of the multi-billion dollar holiday.

According to a National Retail Federation poll on consumer spending (involving 6,735 participants),  intentional spending on Valentine’s Day gifts and amenities topped $18.9 billion dollars in 2015.  The spending survey asked consumers in January of 2015 how much they intended to spend on their significant other, and American’s who participated in the survey intended to spend an average of $140 dollars or more.   If you were lucky to wake up to the traditional chocolate and roses this morning, check out some of these statistics from 2015:

  • American’s purchase more than 50 billion pounds of chocolate from February 5th to 14th.
  • An average of 36 million ‘heart shaped’ boxes are sold in the United States every year.
  • 37.8% of American’s will purchase fresh flowers for Valentine’s Day.
  • Approximately 21% of American’s will also purchase Valentine’s Day treats for pets.

The National Retail Federation also reported that the majority of sales for Valentine’s Day merchandise are funneled through department store chains and retail discount stores. Interestingly, only a small number of men and women shop for romantic gifts online, with less than 25% buying treats and ordering flowers via the web.  Perhaps when it is something romantic, a more personalized “hand picked” approach is preferred by consumers.  That makes sense (and so does shopping locally for bargains). What that does reveal is that retail merchandising and POP displays have a prominent role in the sales funnel for Valentine’s Day confection and gift purchases.

Rounding the top three choices for Valentine’s Day spending? Flowers, chocolates and greeting cards.  Other items such as jewelry represent only 21% of consumer purchases for the holiday, or about the same number of American’s who opt to buy their dog a heart motif collar instead.   Not judging at all (we’ve done that too).  The least popular gift for Valentine’s Day?  A gift card. Nothing say’s “I couldn’t be bothered to put some thought behind it” than a gift card in our opinion.  That’s probably a good thing, when you think about it.

Do you love infographics? Check out “Valentine’s Day By The Numbers” for some interesting consumer and cultural data. Apparently Valentine’s Day is a high stakes holiday.  One of the most interesting survey responses revealed that 53% of women would end a relationship, if they didn’t receive a good Valentine’s Day gift.  Oh my.


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