Valentine’s Day 2021 may look a little different (surprise!), but love always prevails, doesn’t it? Retail has held steady during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, while the holiday itself has evolved in its own way to be more inclusive and creative. Digital marketers should adjust messaging to the times, maximize contextual targeting and optimization, commit to a multi-channel approach, and more. Read the data and recommendations for a successful holiday of love below. 

 

Spending Habits

In 2020, consumers in the US reported an average spend of $196 on Valentine’s Day, an increase of 21% over 2019, according to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF). (eMarketer, February 2020)

  • Age 35-44 had the highest average expected spending in 2020: $358.78
  • Age 65+ had the lowest: $99.14

→ Target and adjust messaging content towards Gen X.

 

Favorite Gifts

Candy: More than half (52%) of US internet users planned to purchase sweets for Valentine’s Day, ranking above flowers, an evening out or jewelry in 2020. (eMarketer, February 2020) A combined 62% of internet users spent on an experience: evening out, tickets to an event, trip, or spa. Due to coronavirus safety concerns and varying mandates across the country and world, we predict that Valentine’s Day gift-givers will steer away from those experiences and instead shift to creative, at-home entertainment and experiences to celebrate. Offer creative ideas or products to inspire them.

Types of Gifts US Internet Users Intended to Purchase in 2020:

  • 52% Candy
  • 43% Greeting Cards
  • 37% Flowers

(NRF via eMarketer, February 2020) 

→ Offer creative ideas or products to inspire consumers

 

Retail as an Indicator for Valentine’s Day 2021

If we gauge retail ecommerce habits as a worthy indicator of how spending will continue into Valentine’s Day, then expect more shoppers to order online this year versus last. Thanks to ecommerce, retail stayed afloat during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and consumers in turn developed new levels of comfort with online ordering.

Retail Spending Rebounds During COVID:

  • New research by Mastercard shows U.S. ecommerce sales were up 92.7%  in May 2020, with more than $53 billion spent via ecommerce channels between April and May—the height of the pandemic. For scale, that’s more spent online than that last 12 Cyber Mondays combined (DigitalCommerce360).
  • Between July and August 2020, total retail sales in the United States rose by 0.6%. During this period, retail sales of clothing and clothing accessory retailers grew by 2.9%, rebounding from consistent and heavy declines in February, March, and April (Statista, September 2020).  

→ Consumers are more comfortable ordering online. Make it easier for them & offer incentives.

 

Digital Ad Spend: Multichannel Approach

Engagement via mobile device continues to grow year after year, and consumers – especially shoppers – are consistently utilizing a multi-channel approach to read, research, engage with brands, and ultimately buy.

Retail Digital Ad Spend by Digital Marketers:

  • eMarketer expects retail to remain the largest spender on digital ads among all verticals. The industry will increase spending by 3.1% to $28.23 billion. (eMarketer, October 2020)
  • Retail ad spending on mobile will surpass $18 billion this year, and desktop/laptop spending will reach nearly $10 billion. 
  • Mobile had a 106% higher CTR than Desktop in 1H 2020 on Bidtellect’s platform, so it’s imperative to implement a multi-channel approach  (Bidtellect 1H 2020 Native Report)

→ Utilize a multichannel approach and scale across the open web to reach more of your target consumers

 

Breaking the Valentine’s Day Mold:

Who Needs a Partner? Treat Yourself

55% planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day in some way in 2020. But even those who answered “Not celebrating” did in some way. 35% of 18-25 year olds said their non-traditional Valentine’s Day gift or celebration would be “Treating Yourself.” (NRF, 2020 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey)

Lovers & Friends & Family Count, Too:

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for significant others, spouses, even casual lovers anymore. Parks and Recreation may have dubbed the holiday “Galentine’s Day” to celebrate friendship, but gift-giving seems to span across all relationships, including family and coworkers (Saturday Night Live even wrote a spoof about it). Since 2010, spend on Valentine’s Day gifts for friends has nearly tripled, from $737 million to $2.1 billion (NRF, February 2020). Retailers have adapted with more inclusive products that “allow for casual or non romantic gift giving” (eMarketer, February 2020).

Valentine’s Day Spend on Others in 2020

  • Significant Other/Spouse: $14.1 billion
  • Other Family Members: $4.2 billion
  • Friends: $2.1 billion 

(NRF, 2020 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey)

Don’t Forget One’s Most Loyal Companion: Your Furry Friend

Don’t forget your furry friends! Valentine’s Day spending on that very special pet in your life has also increased. In 2020, 27% of those celebrating Valentine’s Day said they’d buy gifts for their pets, up from 17% in 2010 (NRF, February 2020). Spend on pet gifts has grown exponentially, from just $450 million in 2010 to more than $1.7 billion a decade later (NRF, February 2020).

The trend is not just being driven by younger consumers like millennials and Gen Zers; spending on gifts for pets has grown among all shoppers under the age of 55.

→ Valentine’s Day now means a day to show appreciation to people and pets that you love – including yourself. Cater messaging to this broader definition and don’t limit spend or targeting.

 

We hope this data on Valentine’s Day trends, shopping habits, and digital marketing strategy help you make 2021 your more successful year yet! 

 

PLUS: 6 Steps to Success for Valentine’s Day 2020:

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Bidtellect Charlotte Otremba employee photo

Charlotte Otremba ​is the Sr. Manager of Marketing and Communications at Bidtellect.

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