Valentine’s Day spending trends shift with consumer behavior

Valentine’s Day spending looks very different than it did a decade ago. Ten years ago, more than 60 percent of adults planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day; today, that’s dropped to just over half. At the same time, spending for the holiday has continued to rise and is projected to reach more than $20 billion this year. This is all according to the National Retail Federation‘s annual Valentine’s Day Spending Survey, which outlines how three critical shifts are driving these opposing trends in how consumers view and celebrate love’s official holiday.

Here are three things retailers should understand about the new way customers shop for the romantic holiday:

  1. Young people do Valentine’s Day differently. Those who say they aren’t celebrating still plan to treat themselves to something special or plan an outing or get-together with friends.
  2. Those who celebrate Valentine’s Day are spending more. While only about 50 percent of people say they’ll celebrate the holiday, those who do are spending more than ever. Between 2009 and 2019, the average amount consumers planned to spend on Valentine’s Day gifts increased by $60.
  3. Traditional gifts – jewelry, flowers or candy – are still the most popular; however, “gifts of experience” are growing in popularity. The appeal with these types of gifts is an opportunity to create a special memory or simply be unique.

How can retailers get creative and embrace the changes in consumer behavior?

  1. Showcase all the ways and products you offer that help consumers show ALL their loved ones how much they care. While gifts for a significant other are still an important part of the holiday, much of the increase in spending is being driven by gifts for other loved ones. Today, Valentine’s Day is about sharing the love with everyone — from gifts for friends and family to cards for co-workers and children’s classmates and, of course, special treats for pets.
  2. Create an ‘experience’ within your store. Partner with a spa, florist, salon, make-up artist, or artisan to offer a “Galentine’s” event or date night in your store, where shoppers can create something themselves or experience something fun in your store. Of course, most will shop while they are there, so consider offering discounts for the special night!
  3. Embrace the “TREAT YO SELF” trend, and remind the customer that they can shop with you to give a gift to themselves to mark the holiday. Make this fun on your social media channels.