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What’s the Valentine’s Day opportunity for retailers?

Will Blackett EVP, Consumer 02/20/2020

While fewer Brits are planning to mark Valentine’s Day than in previous years, a third are still planning on buying a gift.

The top three gift choices are chocolates (48%), flowers (30%) and jewellery (22%)

Amazon, which recently came top in our Top 100 Most Loved Retailers report, is the top choice for most (62%) gift-givers.

Aside from Amazon, the figures suggest that bricks and mortar retailers are set to profit most from Valentine’s Day spending, with online shops that aren’t Amazon lagging behind as the fifth most popular choice (31%), behind supermarkets (54%), department stores (46%) and speciality shops such as clothes or book shops (38%).

Interestingly, the survey also reveals a reluctance for people to part with their cash this year, with only 10% of consumers putting Valentine’s Day as the top day to spend. This is compared to Christmas (54%), birthdays (34%) and anniversaries. That’s perhaps why one in ten of us will opt for the corner shop or a discount store for our Valentine’s gift, and 7% will adhere to the cliché of buying a present from a garage.

Just over half of us will give a Valentine’s card on the day – the most popular item to exchange – and the top three gift choices are chocolates (48%), flowers (30%) and jewellery (22%). Somewhat unconventionally, two in 10 will opt for a gift card and one in ten will give cash to their partner.

What do people really want for Valentine’s Day?

The study also reveals a mismatch between presents that are being planned, and those that people wish to receive.

The three least wanted gifts this year are sex toys (which 40% wouldn’t want to receive), lingerie (25%) and alcohol (21%). However, two in ten are planning on purchasing alcohol for our better halves, 14% sex toys and 13%, lingerie.

Most (43%) plan to spend between £10 and £49 on the day, almost a quarter will spend £50 – £99 whilst just under one in 10 will spend less than £10. One in twenty are planning to blow the budget by spending over £200.

The high street may not get a boost from Valentine’s celebrations on the day itself, however, as although half of those celebrating will go out for dinner (45%), more people will choose to spend the evening at home (30%) than will head out for a romantic drink (26%) or go to the cinema (15%). One in ten, however, plan to treat themselves to a spa day.

Among those who aren’t interested in Valentine’s day, half have given up for reasons such as: it’s too commercial (14%), they prefer to do something with their partner on a different day (9%), it’s meaningless (6%) and it’s too expensive (3%).

Beyond romance, retailers should note that special offers are welcome as one in 10 people say they’ll only get involved to take advantage of discounts. What’s more, a quarter of people will use the day as an excuse to treat themselves to a gift.

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