While the real winners on Valentine’s Day are the recipients of all the flowers, candy, and cards that are gifted on February 14th, brands and retailers don’t do too poorly either.
At Wiser, we were wondering what went through consumers’ heads around this holiday, so we polled more than 2,700 mystery shoppers from across the U.S. to find out. We had our answers within a week and shared the results via this blog and handy infographic.
Here are the big retail winners on Valentine’s Day:
A Traditional Holiday Wins with Shoppers
Valentine’s Day remains a traditional holiday among consumers, both in terms of gifts and when it comes to where to buy.
According to our Wiser survey of our network of smartphone-enabled shoppers, 83 percent buy their Valentine’s Day gifts at brick-and-mortar retailers. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported eCommerce sales earned upward of $1.3 billion in the third quarter of 2018, but based on our survey, shoppers aren’t interested in upping that total on Valentine’s Day.
Traditional gifts also did well. The top-selling gifts are chocolate and candy, cards, and flowers, respectively. Rounding out the top five are self-made gifts and stuffed animals. However, the most popular Valentine’s Day celebration wasn’t a gift, but a night on the town.
Only 21 percent of the survey respondents buy gifts for this holiday. Instead, 45 percent plan a date night and 24 percent spend the romantic night at home.
83% of shoppers buy their Valentine’s Day gifts at brick-and-mortar retailers
Shoppers Love to See Before Buying
Why does brick-and-mortar retail do so well on Valentine’s Day? For many, the reason may lie in the type of gifts they’re buying their significant others.
As our smartphone-enabled shoppers pointed out, the best gifts for this holiday are chocolates, cards, and flowers. Those three items are not typically purchased from online retailers. Instead, they’re better served by being presented in stores. Then, shoppers can inspect the merchandise before purchasing. Many consumers prefer to pick out their flowers in person, not via a picture online, while card-shopping and candy-buying are two more purchases that are traditionally completed at brick-and-mortar retailers.
Furthermore, most shopping occurs right before the holiday. In our survey, 69 percent said they bought gifts in early February, far ahead of second-place late January. That kind of last-minute shopping lends itself well to in-store purchases.
Perhaps online retail can gain a foothold into Valentine’s Day soon, but the odds are lower if chocolates, cards, and flowers remain the most popular gifts.
Chocolate, cards, and flowers are the most popular gifts
Discount Stores Beat Big-Box Stores
Given the influx of shoppers to brick-and-mortar locations for Valentine’s Day, we wanted to see which retailers made out the best.
The answer was discount stores, such as 5 Below, dollar stores, and others, as 53 percent said they buy here for this holiday. In second was big-box stores like Target, with department stores, dedicated florists, and other retailers trailing behind.
Once inside, there are a few promotions that help close the deal. Valentine’s Day shoppers prefer “X percent off retail price” deals the most, well ahead of Buy One, Get One (BOGO). Naturally, free shipping was much lower, likely connected to the preference for brick-and-mortar stores over online.
If you’re looking for ways to increase sales, improve store operations or support any other in-store metric during key drive periods, retail auditing is the way to go. You’ll get high-quality, accurate, and customized shelf-level data exactly when you need it.
Of course, check out the full infographic below to see all the Valentine’s Day data we captured and get ideas for how Wiser will help your business succeed.