Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, if you’re a business owner, you simply can’t ignore this holiday. In Europe, Valentine’s Day has become more and more popular in the last few years, so why not reach out to those shoppers who do celebrate it?
In today’s blog, you'll get some Valentine's Day statistics as well some ideas on what your business can do to prepare for the holiday, whether it's for the lovers or the haters out there.
Source: shutterstock.com/Sergey Peterman
Nothing says Valentine’s Day like some good ol’ fashioned statistics (I know - I can be so romantic sometimes). All kidding aside, let’s see what effect Valentine’s Day has on e-commerce sales and retail in general throughout Europe. Let's look at the UK first:
Statista conducted a UK survey in 2018 of over 1,000 people to get insights into how Valentine's Day is celebrated in the UK.
It revealed that exactly half of British people definitely plan to celebrate it, while an additional 22% said that they might celebrate it.
The survey revealed some interesting numbers on gift-giving as well.
Looking at those who are definitely celebrating Valentine's Day, 90% plan on giving their partners a gift. No big surprise there. However, children was the second-most popular answer (7%). Other noteworthy answers included mother (6%), friends (5%), myself (5%), brother/sister (2%), and father (2%).
If you plan on selling Valentine's Day gifts, it might be worth investing in a few products that are intended for those different groups.
According to a January 2017 poll by Opinium Research LLP, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK adults, 48% of respondents planned to buy a gift for their loved one. Of those who planned on buying a gift, the amount they were planning to spend went up from £26.69 in 2016 to £29.89 in 2017. Also worth noting is that men had planned to spend almost double the amount as women (£39.70 vs. £20.42).
Of course, these aren’t Christmas numbers, but when you consider that many predicted sales would reach £855 million in the UK (with Scotland, London, and the North West spending the most amount of money) by 2020, it's actually quite difficult to ignore.
It's also interesting to see where Brits are gathering inspiration for Valentine's Day gifts. As of 2020, many people were still looking for inspiration at their local supermarkets. Visual cues in physical stores can be a great inspiration. However, it will be interesting to see new numbers in the post-pandemic world. E-commerce has shot up even more in that time.
As you can see in the chart below, social media (and the internet in general) is clearly a heavy influencer on inspiration. If your website can remind consumers that the holiday is coming up, you very well may inspire a purchase. Therefore, visual cues, such as decorations on your website, in your ads, or in your newsletter can boost sales leading up the most romantic day of the year.
It seems attitudes are changing for many Europeans regarding Valentine's Day. Let's have a look at a few different countries in Europe and see how the general public perceives the holiday and see how many plan to actually celebrate it.
In this survey of male consumers in Ireland, it seems they are getting the hang of Valentine's Day. We can see that jewelry, flowers, and cards top the list of gifts that are planned for purchase:
Looking at Denmark specifically, it's clear there is a trend of celebrating the holiday for the younger demographics. One possible explanation is that younger generations are more exposed to "American culture" through the internet. It will be interesting to see how these trends continue over the next few years (and if they are replicated throughout other European markets):
Here's a look at what Italian women search for in the two weeks leading up to Valentine's Day. Interestingly, the top searched products seem to be a mix of products for men, for women, and for products they can share together.
If we look at the Polish market, the public seems to have quite a positive perspective. Of course, there will always be some cynics, but they shouldn't be ignored either (more on the V-day haters later).
Speaking of cynics, Germans might be the least keen on Valentine's Day (surprising absolutely nobody). Check out the following results:
To be fair, Germans aren't known as the most romantic culture. Maybe they just need some time to warm up to the idea! It's not all gloom in Deutschland. Regardless of the cynics, a decent amount of respondents who were in a relationship still planned to celebrate the holiday with their partners (44%).
Source: shutterstock.com/Branislav Nenin
Generally speaking, it seems that the holiday is getting more and more popular every year throughout Europe. As younger consumers continue to embrace the holiday (as we saw in Denmark), you can expect holiday spending to go up each year.
So, you’ve decided you want your online shop to do something for Valentine’s Day, but you’re not quite sure what you can do. Let’s look at a few ideas for your business.
Perhaps, you can change the header image on your homepage or slightly alter your logo. Some visual cues on your page are never a bad idea.
With the Christmas and New Year’s hangover, Valentine’s Day has a way of creeping up on us (men). A reminder on your page might inspire visitors to make a quick purchase and “get it out of the way” (hint: don’t write that in the card).
The homepage of Woops makes me hungry... for love!
Once you’ve added all the products to your inventory that you think your customers would like, help guide them to these temporary products with a “Gift guide” page. You can divide these pages into different categories (e.g. For him, For her, For the Haters, etc.).
As men generally tend to spend more than women on this holiday, you might want to focus on male shoppers, but naturally, this depends on your shop.
Also, be sure to make this page easily discoverable by placing links at the top of your homepage or even directly in the navigation. Either way, a dedicated landing page could really make sense here, especially if you run an ad campaign.
Find a charity to donate some of your profits to. Although it might not seem like the appropriate holiday for charity-giving, since we think of Valentine’s Day as romantic, it really all comes down to love, doesn’t it?
If you decide to go down this route, make sure to mention this on your homepage or on the landing page somewhere. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone.
Depending on what kind of store you run, you might want to consider offering a few Valentine’s Day-themed products. Your products don’t have to be cheesy. They can be “love-themed” without having to be tacky.
These candlestick holders can be used any time of year (Source: franjohnsonhouse.com)
Your products don’t necessarily have to be so “lubby-dubby” either. Remember, love is supposed to be fun, so have fun with your products. People celebrating V-Day usually have a sense of humour, so don’t feel the need to be totally romantic. Even non-romantics celebrate Valentine’s Day.
A lot of couples game together these days (Source: scribbler.com)
Don't forget what was mentioned above. Many people plan to give gifts to family members as well. It might be worth finding some products targeted to children or mothers. If you go this route, make sure you make sure people can find this section. You might end up inspiring a visitor to buy something for someone important to them that they didn't initially think about.
Not everyone loves Valentine’s Day. In fact, the Chinese even invented a holiday to celebrate being single, which is appropriately called Single's Day.
Single's Day isn't exactly anti-Valentine's Day though. It's more of a celebration of your singlehood.
Some people, on the other hand, are so cynical about Valentine's Day, that if they actually buy a present, it will only be done so ironically. Because this demographic is very real, you might want to consider having some tongue-in-cheek gifts or even some straight up anti-Valentine’s Day gifts.
T-shirts express my thoughts so much better than I ever could.
It might sound ridiculous, but there has been a precedent for this before and it was actually a genius marketing ploy. During Elvis' reign as the King of Rock, his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, had the clever idea of selling merchandise to the small group of consumers who didn't like Elvis: he produced and sold "I hate Elvis" products as well, and they sold quite well (gasp!).
Other Valentine alternatives have been popping up. Galentine’s Day, a holiday celebrated on February 13th, which was made popular by the US sitcom, Parks & Recreation, has gained popularity in recent years. It’s a day where “ladies celebrate ladies” and female friends come together to appreciate each other.
Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D) is celebrated the day after Valentine’s Day. Naturally, these people have a sense of humour as well and can take a joke. Sure, it might be a trend, but we all have that self-deprecating friend who can have a laugh at their own expense.
Surprisingly, according to Google, interest in Valentine’s Day alternatives has been on the rise with searches for “Galentine’s Day” and “Singles Awareness Day” increasing as much as 44% in 2017 compared to 2016.
Another group you probably shouldn't ignore are pet-lovers. Some people will always love their cats more than other humans, so have fun by embracing that audience and marketing towards them. Imagine your gift guide having one section for men, one for women, and one for pet-lovers! That's sure to pique some interest for all pet-owners, even if they are involved in a romantic relationship.
There's nothing wrong with loving cats. The entire internet does! (source: skreened.com)
Recommended reading: How to Sell Unique Products to Niche Markets
If you’re going to extend your product catalogue for this holiday, make sure you reach out to your past customers by sending out an email a few weeks ahead of time. This will remind them of the upcoming holiday and hopefully lead them to your shop for a purchase.
Similarly, get your social media accounts to post reminders about the upcoming holidays as well. Show your products in action with some nice, natural images.
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You might even want to consider having a contest on social media. Inspire your customers to partake with some romantic images or some funny images. Offer some of your products as a prize or offer extra discounts to the top 5 images you receive.
Naturally, you have a lot of options when it comes to running the contest, but test it out, and hopefully you’ll get your audience to share this contest with their friends and gain even more exposure.
Finally, you can reach out to your entire target audience by advertising on Google or Facebook. By micro-targeting to different audience groups, you can slightly alter your ads and text to suit every demographic that you want to reach.
And don't forget to reach out to these "alternative" Valentine's groups. This is a great chance to have some fun with your ads and you might be able to grab people's attention and stand out from the crowd. Planning to use social media marketing? Target single's groups or dating apps to find the right audience.
As with many sale-holidays, you might want to consider offering a special discount for your shop during the holidays. You can use this strategy as a kind of loyalty program to past customers, or offer it to everyone by advertising on social networks and across the internet.
You don’t have to go crazy with a 50% discount. Normally a 20-30% discount works quite well, too. Small extras like free shipping or free gift wrapping can also help improve conversions.
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to increase sales and get more shoppers aware of your website. There are, of course, some unique opportunities with Valentine’s Day by creating new products and targeting those who love the holiday as well as those who don’t. Classic holiday marketing methods work well during the period leading up to Valentine’s Day as well. Whatever you do, don’t ignore this holiday or you might miss out on some great opportunities.