Valentine’s Day may not receive as much fanfare as other shopping holidays like Black Friday. Though according to the National Retail Federation, this annual celebration (on Feb. 14) brings in nearly $20 billion for retailers and restaurants across the country. Those numbers keep growing:
- In 2017, the average gift-giver spent $136.
- In 2018, average spending approached $144.
That’s a pretty encouraging trend for any business capable of tapping into feelings of love and affection.
Here are some other consumer spending trends associated with Valentine’s Day.
1. It Ain’t All Roses
Most Valentine’s Day spending goes to the usual culprits — candy, flowers, jewelry and dinner reservations. Still, retailers of all niches can cash in on this annual holiday. This is true even if you sell the least romantic items imaginable — from power drills to tax advice.
Although gifts for significant others represent the largest percentage of Valentine’s Day sales ($12.1 billion), gift-givers spend an estimated $8 billion on:
Even pets are increasingly becoming Valentine’s Day gift recipients.
Moreover, 3.3 percent of shoppers buy “anti-gifts” to protest the holiday, and 11.5 percent of consumers spend money on themselves.
2. Experiences Are “In”
Candy, cards and flowers are still the most popular gifts, but roughly one-third of holiday shoppers will add some type of experience as well.
In most cases, this means dining at a romantic restaurant — but concerts, sporting events, parties and other shared activities are increasingly becoming the norm.
This trend is especially pronounced among millennials — with nearly 50 percent reporting they have given an experiential gift and 83 percent who plan on giving one in the future.
3. Mobile Shopping Is on the Rise
Roughly half of U.S. consumers use their smartphones to browse for and/or buy Valentine’s Day gifts for others. This makes sense, given that 60 percent of all web traffic is now mobile — instead of through traditional desktops and laptops.
As a retailer, this means your website must be mobile-ready with a fast, responsive and intuitive layout that works on all screen sizes.
4. Is Brick and Mortar Still Cool?
There’s no shortage of articles chronicling the slow and inevitable demise of brick-and-mortar retail. After all, how can physical stores possibly compete with online retailers when it comes to prices, expenses, inventory and convenience?
Yet, 30 percent of all Valentine’s Day consumers still plan on visiting a department store for some of their shopping.
If you have Valentine’s Day decorations somewhere in storage, don’t throw them away. They might come in handy.
5. Stay Millennial-Focused
Having trouble remembering these tips and trends? A rule of thumb is to focus on millennial shoppers. They’re the driving force behind this yearly celebration:
- When it comes to mobile phone use, few age groups can hold a torch to millennials.
- Those between ages 25 and 34 are the biggest Valentine’s Day spenders.
- Millennials are the most experience-driven of all shopping demographics.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore the needs of older (or younger) shoppers. It’s just that millennials represent the largest slice of the $20 billion Valentine’s Day spending pie. By focusing on this age group, you’ll have an easier time attracting customers and generating sales.
One Final Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Trend
Payment fraud happens year-round, but it’s really bad during shopping holidays, due to all the sales volume and noise.
Valentine’s Day can be particularly dangerous for retailers, given that:
- There are tens of billions of dollars in transactions up for grabs
- Shoppers frequently spend money on luxury items (i.e., jewelry)
- Address mismatches between billers and recipients is normal when giving gifts
- There’s a lot of pressure to deliver items on time before the day passes
The best way to protect your business is by selecting a PCI-compliant payment processor that takes data security seriously.
To learn how we prevent payment fraud for our clients, schedule a free consultation with our merchant services team today.