Even if Valentine’s Day originally started as a celebration of love, romance and passion, marketers, advertisers and couples around the world successfully turned it into a consumerist holiday. Now retailers from all across the US and the world are fighting to get a slice of the ‘love cake’.

According to the National Retail Federation, around 55% of Americans celebrated Valentine’s Day in 2018, while overall spending exceeded 19.6 billion dollars, compared to $18.2 billion last year. Forecasts show that consumers spend around 145 dollars each on Valentine’s Day gifts, around seven dollars more than last year.
 

Image Source: National Retail Federation


 
On top of the best sellers list is jewelry, Americans spending more than 4.7 billion dollars on jewels, followed by 3.7 billion dollars on an evening out, $2 billion on flowers, $1.9 billion on clothing and $1.8 billion on candy.
 

Image Source: National Retail Federation


 
The same market study reveals that the top five accessories consumers purchased this year on Valentine’s Day are watches, with 56% of the sales, rings – 11%, pendants – 17%, tennis bracelets – 11% and necklace chains – 4%.
 
An interesting fact to mention is that more people proposed on Christmas than on Valentine’s Day, engagement ring sales declining over 95% in January and early February over December 2017.
 
This year, as well as last year, the shopping peak was on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, February 9th, which shows a consumer spending pattern that endures.
 
In the weekend preceding Valentine’s Day (this year 9-11 February) desktop and mobile sales conversions increased by 34% and respectively 79% YOY (10-12 February 2017). According to Rakuten, the higher conversion rate translates into a 38% revenue increase for desktop and 80% for mobile platforms.
 
Even if the online sales are soaring, top destinations for buying gifts remain department stores (35.3%), which are particularly popular among 25-34-year-olds, and discount stores (32.4%). However, more than half of celebrants plan to use their smartphones to assist with Valentine’s Day purchase decisions, while 36.9% plan to use them for researching products and comparing prices.
 
One important aspect to take into consideration is that about 3 in 10 adult consumers who indicated they are not celebrating this year still have some type of “celebration” plans, such as buying something from themselves or organizing a get-together with family or friends.
 
Consumers behavior is rapidly changing, but luckily we have just enough data to be able to predict the trend for the near future. It is critical for marketers and advertisers to benefit from all this data and to adjust their strategies accordingly, to deliver what the customers expect. Ads, marketing campaigns, online and offline strategy, all must be fine-tuned to suit the behavior of the customers, who now have more choices than ever.