IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 2 Feb 2015

To Valentine or not to Valentine? Our survey said…

If you haven’t noticed the recent abundance of pastel pink window displays selling love’s young dream, you may be experiencing selective blindness to all things Valentine’s. But, whatever your personal feelings towards the day, romantic or cynic, St Valentine’s Day is still celebrated annually across the world, recognised as a special day for love and romance. Although some consumers place very little personal importance on the occasion, with the majority believing it to be a waste of money, as a country we continue to splash out on it year on year. Valentine’s therefore provides a great opportunity for season-savvy retailers to cash in on.

Here at Retail Assist, we conducted an independent survey to look into consumers’ shopping habits around Valentine’s Day, and created a lovely heart-filled infographic to document our findings:

Retail Assist Valentines Infographic

There was an almost balanced split in whether or not you will be buying a gift for your significant other: 40% responded yes whilst 60% said no (at least there’s still a few romantics amongst us!) Perhaps more interesting to retailers is the question, how will you buy your gift? As our infographic shows, the High Street reigns supreme for gift buying, with a staggering 65% of people opting to buy in-store. This was followed by online at 26%, with a meagre 9% purchasing from their mobile or tablet device.

What this shows is that although there has been a huge boom in online and mobile shopping habits, the in-store shopping experience still has a big influence when it comes to buying a special gift. Perhaps it’s that the consumer wants to physically see and feel the product – this is especially true when it comes to buying items like flowers or jewellery, traditionally the two most popular Valentine’s gifts. Or perhaps it’s that retailers market their Valentine’s gift sections particularly well in-store, with eye catching window displays and a great visual in-store centrepiece. Our customer Paperchase has a fantastic pun-based Valentine’s gift campaign for example (we particularly like their “Fifty Shades of Earl Grey” range!) Whatever the reason, Valentine’s always comes as a timely reminder that the high street has lots to offer.

Valentine’s also provides the perfect time for fashion retailers to vamp up their Spring campaign launch after the post-Winter sale lull, with many brands opting to put together a “Romantic” edit of soft pastels and pinks: definitely a colour to watch this season. Something else that works particularly well is targeting different Valentine’s activities with different look-books or style guides: what to wear on a City-break weekend away, a hot date, or a romantic-but-casual meal in. Are you fully maximising the different marketing campaigns around Valentine’s that can inspire shoppers to make a purchase? Perhaps not, given that when asked whether you will you buy a new outfit for Valentine’s Day plans, an overwhelming 80% of our respondents said no, while only 20% said yes.

When it comes to what people have planned for Valentine’s Day, it looks like the hospitality sector may be losing some of its traffic to the attractive option of gourmet dine-in meals (whether that be homemade or Marks & Spencer’s finest!) 61% of people will be celebrating Valentine’s by eating in, 33% are planning to eat out and 6% will be catching a film at the cinema.

To round up, make sure your business has the right measures in place to scale for seasonal surges, and account for the “loveconomics” that Valentine’s brings. With a targeted Valentine’s campaign, take into account the different ways your consumer might be purchasing, and ensure that the brand is consistent across all channels. And if you’re looking for some more Valentine’s inspiration, from gift ideas to top fashion picks, check out our “Valentine’s 2015” board on Pinterest, searching ‘RetailAssist’.


*Independent survey conducted of 100 people, via Toluna.

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