Retailers LOVE Valentine’s Day

It would seem that when it comes to retail, a re-write may be in order for Nat King Cole’s classic L-O-V-E song.

Although it’s no surprise Valentine’s Day is a big hit for retailers, it was predicted to reach record totals in 2016 and initial estimates have spending on track to sell nearly a billion more than 2015.

So what exactly are the patterns retailers are seeing from consumers?

L - Is for the buckets of money consumers spent on their beloveds. According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day 2016 was estimated to bring in nearly 20 billion dollars. So where are consumers spending their love dollars? Well… the NRF survey reported the following: 

Purchase Percent Amount
Candy 50% $26.22
Greeting Cards 48% $17.81
Evening Out 38% $87.25
Flowers 36% $40.57
Jewelry 20% $166.08

Now, of course, these are averages, but you can see how it all adds up.

O - Is for online making a push toward being the preferred method of shopping for Casanovas in 2016. Nearly 30% of consumers shopped for Valentine’s day gifts online, which although in-store shopping wins out (department stores (35%), discount stores (31%), 15% local/​specialty stores), online retailers are clearly making it easier for consumers to easily finish their Valentine’s Day shopping online. However, despite the rise, it still came in well below the preferred method of shopping in-store.

V - Is for very, very generous. According to the survey, consumers planned to spend on everyone and their dog, literally. In addition to spending on significant others/​spouses, classmates/​colleagues, and additional family members, the survey reported consumers will spend almost $681 million dollars on their pets. Meow! 

E – Is for experiential spending. IBISWorld data on Valentine’s Day notes spending on romantic gateways and travel will increase by 3%, which presumably will have a trickle-down effect into other retail verticals.

Although only 54% of consumers say they will participate in Valentine’s Day, retailers can expect these trends to continue. Since 2012, Statista reports spending on Valentine’s Day has grown from $17.6 billion to $19.7 in 2016 with similar trends in Canada. 

But now that Valentine’s Day is behind us, it’s time to turn our sights to St. Patrick’s Day. Bring on the green beer!