Valentines Day, to gift, or not to gift?

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Sophie Monks

Senior Social Specialist

Brits have moved from sending anonymous cards to buying extravagant gifts for their loved ones, gal-pals and even their pets. Today, we look at 2019’s trends.

Traditionally Valentines Day was a day to anonymously send a card to someone you are romantically involved with or attracted too, but over the years this charming tradition has evolved into another major holiday on the retail calendar.  Last year for example, more than 22 million Brits spent money on their loved ones with an estimated average spend of £28.45 per person.

So what can Google Trends tell us about Valentine’s Day this year?

Well, since January 21st there has been a significant increase in “gifts for” searches, with there being on average 55% more searches of “gifts for him” than “gifts for her”.

gifts for her and him chart

Whilst this might show women are generally the gift-givers, all it really shows it that women are more organised. In a report published in 2018, it was uncovered that men are the generally the big spenders with more than double the amount of women spending between 1-10£ than men.

genders spending most on valentines chart

There’s also evidence of Valentine’s Day being the second biggest holiday for last-minute gifts. Google’s near-me searches continue to grow YOY, with significant increases for “florist near me” and “chocolates near me”, putting further emphasis on men being less organised and purchasing last-minute.

Don’t worry guys, I’ve got your back!

So who are we actually spending on?

spending chart

marriage v partners stats

Married couples come up trumps! With boyfriend/girlfriend’s coming in second, but an interesting trend is the focus of Valentine’s Day widening to encompass all manner of connections. People are getting increasingly creative with how they celebrate the day and devoting it to other passions, like female bonding, pet pampering, and treating themselves; “treat yo’ self” is a common mantra amongst Millennials and Gen-Z so don’t forget to include these connections in your Valentine campaigns!

Galentine’s Day, an un-official holiday celebrated on February 13th has firmly established itself in every day culture. It’s a day for women to celebrate women, and is often an excuse for girlfriends to get together and catch up over bespoke cupcakes and a glass of prosecco (at least that’s what me, and my gal-pals do!). The search volume for “Galentine’s Day” has increased by over 200% in three years.

galentines day growth YOY

This trend is likely to continue growing with eCommerce brands taking advantage of Galentine’s Day to introduce new collections and host blogger events. Obviously showering social media with this content is influencing younger generations who are more inclined to spend for the social approval that follows, hence the continued growth.

galentines day gifts

For example.

So as you gear up to push your Valentine’s campaigns live, be conscious that as retailers, you’re perfectly positioned to help shoppers reimagine the holiday and make it their own – regardless of their relationship statuses!

So to that end, what are people’s top gift choices?

If we’re talking traditions here, it would be greeting cards, chocolates and flowers. But a growing gifting trend are DIY presents.

interest in diy

Etsy, an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and supplies, suggested in a report that not only are people looking to create unique gifts themselves, but they’re also gifting do-it-yourself projects.

Almost one quarter of consumers in the US surveyed in the two years leading up to last Valentine’s Day said they planned to give a Valentine’s Day experience as opposed to a physical gift.

According to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

But this doesn’t mean that traditional Valentine’s gifts are dead, quite the contrary. Flowers and chocolate remain to be one of the top searched Valentines gifts, with search interest for chocolate trumping that of flowers.

search volume for chocolate and flowers

This chart, albeit an analysis of the U.S. is a breakdown of sales in each category.

statista US spending

Though, most interestingly a rising related topic to “Valentine” is “Red Dead Redemption”. Could the gamers in our lives be about to experience the Wild West?

Content Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Google’s Romance Report delves into non-product specific love search queries, and it’s a good ‘un. Not-so surprising is the most Googled question; “what is love?” …but does anyone really know?

Well it would seem that Gary Chapman came close, with his book ‘The 5 Love Languages’ which is a top love search query.

love languages gary chapman

As we can see, the search term “love languages” is at an all time high as people look to understand the ways in which they and their partners prefer to express love. And, the most searched love language since last Valentine’s Day is “How to spend quality time with your partner?”.

People also look to Google for help expressing themselves, and search queries for “How to say sorry to your partner?” is on the rise. Hugs and kisses are another love language that is widely searched, though “kiss” is 7x more searched than “hug” worldwide, with queries like “How to kiss a girl” being most searched.

It is also reported in Google’s report that “gift for” searches around Valentine’s Day is the second busiest week for these searches apart from Christmas week.

If it isn’t obvious already, it’s these search terms that should be at the forefront of your optimisation.

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, eCommerce stores should at the very least…

  1. Update their website to be Valentine ready. We can’t stress enough the importance of getting rid of all things Christmas! Spruce up the homepage, inject some pinks/reds, showcase relevant featured products and spice up the content.
  2. Consider running Valentine’s Day promotions; KISS10 or LUVU25 as examples work well.
  3. Create interesting and punchy blog posts. Be thought provoking and a little daring, remember it needs to be share-worthy.
  4. Make your ads relevant and romantic. Consider the queries that could be used to search for gifts.
  5. Set aside advertising budget for remarketing. Targeting basket-abandoners and previous purchasers.
  6. Spend time updating SEO. Optimising pages to include Valentine-specific keywords will aid visibility.
  7. Segment and categorise products by relationship status, not forgetting the singletons and gal-pals.
  8. Guarantee timely delivery. This is an important one!
  9. If your products aren’t obviously Valentines-related, don’t be afraid to get a little creative. IKEA once offered free cots to children born 9 months from Valentine’s Day and it went viral.
  10. Inspire sales through communicating positive emotion. Share that your users deserve to be treated.

As you’d expect for a day so closely linked to how we see ourselves and each other, attitudes and behaviour around Valentine’s Day evolve as we evolve. Traditions wax and wane, and so do the retail trends associated with them, but even if the course of true love never did run smooth, hopefully these pointers will help brands stay on the straight and narrow this year!

love heart footer

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Sophie Monks

Senior Social Specialist

Sophie has over 6 years of experience in the social media and content space, working in both in-house organisations and agencies. She has worked with exciting established brands in her time such as Campari, Aperol Spritz, Oppo Ice Cream and PayPal Australia. She enjoys the content creation process – from mapping out the shot and…

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