Valentine’s Day Retail Sales growth expected to slow to only 0.2%

Alastair Lockhart

Tue 11th Feb 2020

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Savvy’s latest research, investigating Valentine’s Day, reveals that 37 percent of UK shoppers are planning to get involved in the event this year and we predict spending will reach £855m.

Despite seeing a small improvement in consumer confidence at the beginning of the year, our analysis points to only minor growth in Valentine’s Day 2020. In part this is due to a tough comparative as the market grew by 7.8 percent in 2019, however we also attribute the slowdown to a shift away from eating out, to eating at home.

An interesting development this year is the growing role of social media as a source of inspiration. For example, 30 percent of Valentine’s shoppers expect to seek inspiration on Facebook, up from 19 percent last year. This is not entirely surprising as retailers and brands are more actively using social media to provide inspiration and also the platforms are becoming more convenient as they increasingly offer users the option to buy directly from posts.

Key findings:

Who plans to get involved?

  • 37 percent of all UK shoppers plan to get involved in Valentine’s Day celebrations this year.
  • 18-34 year olds are most likely to celebrate the event, with 50 percent getting involved.

Of those planning to get involved in the event, how are shoppers feeling about the occasion?

  • 60 percent are looking forward to Valentine’s Day and 23 percent view the event as the best in the year.
  • Around half of those celebrating the event will plan in advance what they will buy for their Valentine, though 44 percent say they will leave it to the last minute.
  • Once again online Valentine’s sales look set for a boost with 57 percent of those celebrating planning to buy gifts from an online retailer. 45 percent expect they’ll shop using their smartphone.

How has the market for Valentine’s Day changed?

  • 44 percent of those planning to get involved say they expect their spend to be more this year than last.
  • 52 percent say that they don’t mind spending more to make Valentine’s Day more special.
  • However, overall Savvy’s analysis suggests the market will remain flat with sales for the event increasing by only 0.2 percent on last year, reaching £855m.

What’s on shoppers’ own wish lists to receive?

  • Female’s Valentine’s wish lists are headed by the usual suspects – flowers (45 percent), jewellery (35 percent), meal at a restaurant (33 percent) and chocolates (30 percent).
  • Male’s wish lists are topped with meal at a restaurant (27 percent), chocolates (25 percent) and a home cooked meal (23 percent).
  • Overall people’s wish lists look relatively well aligned to what they expect to receive.
  • Women expect their partners will buy them flowers (36 percent), a card from shop (35 percent) and chocolates (29 percent). 20 percent expect their partner will take them for a meal at restaurant.
  • Men expect their partners will buy them a card from a shop (28 percent), chocolates (27 percent) and homemade cards (13 percent)

Where are shoppers looking for inspiration for things to do and buy for Valentine’s Day?

  • Supermarkets are the number one source of inspiration, mentioned by 52 percent of Valentine’s shoppers.
  • Google takes second place, with 37 percent using the search engine.
  • This year we have seen a significant rise in the use of social media. Facebook will by used 30 percent – up from 19 in 2019. And 21 percent will source inspiration from Instagram.
  • Social media are more important inspiration sources for 18-34 year olds, with 43 percent using Facebook and 37 percent Instagram

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