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Comment: Where is the Love?


As a key gifting event on the retail calendar Valentine’s Day is a big deal in store. With that in mind, we decided to investigate if love was truly in the air on the high street this year.

Our research looked at shopper’s plans for Valentine’s Day this year – what’s on their wish lists, what’s their buying plans are and also whether the retailers are meeting shoppers needs instore.

Here’s the key findings:

Important to who? - 58 percent of female and 50 percent of male shoppers agree or strongly agree with the statement that Valentine’s Day is a special day.

  • 46 percent of females and 53 percent of males agree or strongly agree that they don’t mind spending more to make Valentine’s Day special.

  • 23 percent of all shoppers said that they agreed or agreed strongly that they expect to spend more on Valentine’s Day 2014 than they did in 2013.

What do shoppers themselves want to receive? - Females hope for flowers the most (35 percent), followed by a card from a shop (34 percent) and then restaurant meals (31 percent).

  • Males wish for restaurant meals the most (35 percent), followed by a card from a shop (30 percent) and then chocolates (27 percent).

  • Five percent of females and eight percent of men didn’t expect to receive a gift at all.

What’s actually on the shopping list? - Male shoppers had restaurant meals and flowers at the top of their lists (33 percent apiece) then shop bought cards (31 percent) and chocolates (25 percent) on their buying lists.

  • In complete contrast, females cited novelty socks as top of their buying list (42 percent), then cuddly toys (27 percent) followed by Champagne/sparkling wine (25 percent). Interesting, since only four percent of men had a pair of novelty socks on their wish list and four percent wanted a cuddly toy.

What do shoppers most like to see on offer at the supermarket they use most often in the run up to the event? - Females would like to see Valentine’s meal deals (48 percent) the most, followed by a good range of gifts to buy – for various budgets (42 percent) and then ideas for presents (36 percent).

  • Males also wanted to see Valentine’s meal deals the most (36 percent), then ideas for Valentine’s (33 percent) followed by a good range of gifts to buy (31 percent). A flower wrapping service also featured high on their list (29 percent).

  • Both males and females (23 and 24 percent respectively) wanted dedicated Valentine’s Day aisles.

Based on our research it seems that for this one day of the year, the men actually make for much better shoppers – purchasing gifts that women actually want! It appears that there’s plenty of room for improvement and more of an insight-led approach to making the most of Valentine’s Day so that both of the sexes receive gifts on their wish list!

In general and as part of our analysis, we felt that the industry got off to a slow start with Valentine’s Day execution instore this year - with most only activating campaigns ten days out. Disappointingly, many are presenting uninspiring displays that fail to maximise the opportunity with a market of shoppers who were willing to part with their cash. Many displays are lacking a call to action and fail to put forward a point of difference and inspire shoppers to part with their cash. Interestingly, discounting and promotional activity has been evident across categories early on – particularly noticeable with confectionary, cards and jewellery retailers. It begs the question of whether margins are being missed with shoppers who are keen spend more to make the day special?

To sum up, retailers need to work harder to demonstrate they really understand how men and women actually consider and celebrate the occasion. If they don’t, it could end up with the shoppers ending their love affair with them and going off with the competition.

Published on Thursday 13 February by Editorial Assistant

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