With Cupid’s arrow quickly closing in, we wanted to find out how consumers are feeling about shopping for Valentine’s Day this year.
Are they mostly shopping for their significant others? Are experiences more important than traditional gifts (and what are people planning to purchase)? How can brands make the most of this special shopping holiday to positively impact the rest of the year?
To find out, we surveyed over 1,400 U.S. consumers in January of 2022 and put together a list of the most important Valentine’s Day shopping statistics.
The following article is full of data and takeaways that your brand can apply way beyond Valentine’s Day.
1. Fifty-six percent of consumers plan to shop for friends, family, and pets (other than just a significant other) and 13% for themselves.
While 52% of consumers plan to shop for their significant others, more than half plan to shop for others outside of them.
This includes friends and family members (45%) and even pets (11%). Yet only 13% of consumers plan to shop for themselves this Valentine’s Day.
And as seen in our 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study, 76% of consumers say the opinions of friends and family impact their loyalty to brands.
How can brands leverage friends and family as influencers and incent consumers to treat themselves this Valentine’s Day?
This can be as simple as a BOGO strategy, perhaps rephrased to, “Give One Get One” where your customers receive a gift when they purchase for someone else. If they are required to claim it online, this is a great opportunity to collect more data on them that can help personalize future offers.
Or, perhaps products that your customers purchase as gifts can include a special code where the recipient can sign up for an offer or is incentivized to post their gift on social media using a special hashtag that’s unique to your brand.
This creates a halo effect where they become influencers amongst their social and family circles. The key is offering something of value in exchange for this.
2. Sixty-three percent of consumers agree that experiences like a vacation getaway or romantic dinner are more important than physical products this year.
While people still plan to buy traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like candy and flowers this Valentine’s Day, many people are putting value in experiences like vacations and romantic dinners. 1 in 3 people strongly agrees that these experiences are more important.
If you’re a brand that offers experiences like a restaurant or movie chain, how can you maximize the experience for your customers?
Can you give your loyalty program members priority reservations, preferred seating, or a special dessert on Valentine’s Day? If someone is not a member of your loyalty program, this can be a great incentive for signing up.
But what if you’re a brand that sells physical products?
A sweepstake is an easy incentive to give people who purchase your products a chance to win an experience later. Perhaps a bottle of wine can enter someone in a getaway to Aspen.
Or, if you’re a CPG brand, you can create an offer where consumers can submit their receipt from a box of chocolates to win an all-expense-paid cruise or vacation. This is also a great way to build more 1:1 relationships with otherwise untraceable consumers and collect troves of data that you can use to personalize the experience.
3. Candy/sweets, greeting cards, and flowers are what consumers anticipate purchasing the most this Valentine’s Day.
Although many shoppers agree that experiences are more important than physical gifts this year, certain traditional gifts still top the shopping lists of many consumers.
Here are the top gifts that consumers anticipate purchasing the most this Valentine’s Day:
- Candy/sweets – 52%
- Greeting cards – 37%
- Flowers – 33%
- Dining out at a restaurant – 31%
- Takeout dinner at home – 21%
Not surprisingly, experiential gifts like dining out or in are still in the top five.
For CPG brands selling candy, perhaps a sweepstake for the chance to take an all-expenses-paid factory tour would delight someone with a sweet tooth. If the recipients were required to fill out a survey, or submit a receipt, that brand could determine everything from basic data to knowing someone’s favorite type of candy.
A brand that sells flowers online could create a contest where recipients could post a photo of their flower gift on social media with that brand’s hashtag for the chance to win a gift card. Only 17% of consumers have posted about their favorite brand using their hashtag in the past 12 months, so this is a great way to encourage more social sharing.
4. Sixty-three percent of consumers plan to shop at least mostly online.
Most consumers plan to do at least some Valentine’s Day shopping online this year with 30% saying they plan to only shop online. Out of those people, only 4% plan to buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS).
Yet 37% plan to shop mostly in-store with 20% saying they’ll shop in-store only.
This is relatively aligned with our 2021 Black Friday Shopping Survey which found 70% of consumers planning to do some shopping online and 32% doing all their shopping online.
Likely several factors are contributing to this: convenience, safety concerns, and shifting behaviors. That’s why it’s important to give your customers options.
Wherever your customers are shopping, it’s important to give them the best possible experience. If it’s online, hopefully, they are members of your loyalty program and you’re able to show them relevant offers based on their data.
If they’re coming into your stores, it’s a great time for your in-store associates to help them choose the right gifts and entice them to sign up for your loyalty program.
5. Overall, better prices, higher quality products, and personal history with a brand describe why consumers are most likely to shop with certain brands for Valentine’s Day.
These findings are in line with our recent customer loyalty data study that showed the top factors that would most likely cause someone to lose loyalty to their favorite brand include a decline in product quality (65%) and price increases (47%).
Price and quality are still important to a lot of people overall, especially around Valentine’s Day, when many of the top gifts are commodities like candy, cards, and flowers.
Here are the reasons why consumers are most likely to shop with certain brands for Valentine’s Day:
- Better prices – 52%
- Higher quality products – 43%
- Personal history with the brand – 32%
- More convenient to use – 26%
- Knows me and my preferences – 16%
While some of the reasons are even across the board, some change a bit by age group.
Consumers over 60 years old place more emphasis on higher quality products (50%) and personal history with a brand (44%), followed by better prices (42%).
In contrast, better prices become more important as the age range decreases and personal history with the brand becomes less important.
For example, 58% of shoppers between the ages of 18-29 and 56% between 30-44 say better prices describe why they’re most likely to shop with certain brands for Valentine’s Day. While still somewhat significant, only 24% and 26% are concerned with their history with brands respectively.
Also worth noting is social impact.
While not a huge factor overall, when broken down by age group, almost 1 in 4 shoppers ages 18-29 say they’re likely to shop with brands that have a positive social impact. Only 7% of shoppers over the age of 60 say this.
Therefore, it’s so important to recognize who your customers are and what they value – and even when they value certain things.
6. Product discounts, expedited shipping, and better return policies are the most important loyalty program rewards this Valentine’s Day.
As we found in our 2021 Holiday Shopping Survey, your loyalty program members place the most value on discounts, shipping, and your return policy.
When asked what types of loyalty program rewards are the most important to them this Valentine’s Day, customers ranked them in the following order.
- Product discounts – 55%
- Special expedited shipping – 34%
- Better return policies – 30%
- Free samples with purchase – 26%
- Complimentary gift wrapping – 20%
As we saw above, better prices are one of the reasons why consumers will choose certain brands over others this Valentine’s Day, so it’s no surprise that program members want to see discounts, especially when the three most popular gifts are commoditized.
But expedited shipping and better returns also have a big impact. Does your loyalty program offer those benefits?
One example of a brand doing this well is CVS with CarePass – and it’s a prime place to buy some of those top Valentine’s Day gifts. Let’s break it down.
For $5 per month, CarePass members get 20% off all CVS Health brand products. While there aren’t any candies or sweets under that brand, there are many beauty and personal care products that can make great gifts.
Regardless, members also get a $10 monthly promo reward just for being a member. And free 1–2-day shipping is also a perk, which can alleviate the safety concerns of being in a physical shopping space. And to entice customers to try the program out, the first month is free.
Learn more about membership-based premium loyalty programs in our Premium Loyalty Starter Bundle.
Not every brand is CVS, but every brand can learn from this program. And if you can entice your customers to join your loyalty program for a great experience now, it will pay off for both your brand and your customers in the future.
7. Sixty-two percent of consumers will buy a brand’s products more frequently throughout the year if they have a positive experience on Valentine’s Day.
When asked how likely they were to take the following actions after a positive brand experience for Valentine’s Day, consumers said:
- Buy that brands product more frequently throughout the year – 62%
- Tell my friends about that brand – 55%
- Participate in that brand’s loyalty program – 35%
- Provide feedback/fill out surveys from the brand – 31%
- Post about the brand on social media – 13%
As we saw with our 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study, many consumers will transact more with brands if they have a positive experience on Valentine’s Day. And they will tell family and friends which is a good thing because we found that 76% of consumers’ loyalty is impacted by them.
But how can brands move beyond this transaction-based loyalty to more engagement between purchases? How can brands get more than 1 in 3 consumers to participate in their loyalty programs and give feedback?
It all comes down to the value exchange. Brands need to give something to get something.
Think about an enticing offer like the CVS example above. If your loyalty program has a membership fee, make sure the benefits are clear and you give the option for a free trial. And for any loyalty program, make it the star.
For those customers shopping online, advertise your loyalty program on your homepage, on product pages (CVS allows sorting by what is eligible for CarePass shipping), checkout pages, social media channels, and even your shipping boxes.
For customers shopping in your stores, make sure there is ample signage and that your in-store associates are properly trained to get customers excited to sign up.
Getting customers signed up is not only great to increase engagement but it’s also great for collecting more zero- and first-party data on your best customers.
Surveys are also a great way to collect data and gain feedback, but you have to make sure the data is accurate. Make it fun and offer something in return. Asking your customers to fill out a survey about their dream Valentine’s Day getaway, and then giving them a chance to win, is a lot more enticing than sending them a link to fill out a product survey with no incentive.
We found that overall, 55% of consumers are likely to share personal information in exchange for a giveaway.
It’s clear that brands also need to get their loyal customers to post more on social media. Again, it comes back to the value exchange. Along the same lines as a survey or sweepstake, you could encourage your customers to tag your brand in an uploaded photo of their Valentine’s Day flowers chocolates for a chance to win prizes.
Overall, 55% of consumers would share their experience via social media by tagging brands in exchange for a giveaway.
Show Your Customers Some Love This Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is the first major holiday shopping season of the year, but it can have a lasting positive impact on your brand for the rest of 2022 and beyond.
Although experiences are important to consumers this year, they’ll also be purchasing traditional gifts not only for significant others but for family and friends as well. And when it comes to buying those gifts, price, quality, and convenience are still important and impact peoples’ choices. Loyalty program members want discounts, free shipping, and better return policies.
Remember this is a great opportunity to offer incentives to get people signed up for your loyalty program, collect feedback and data, and get consumers to share their experiences with your brand on social media.
A good Valentine’s Day shopping experience can help your brand build more loyalty and engagement beyond the holiday.
If you need help navigating these strategies and want to chat about anything from an end-to-end loyalty program to simple promotion ahead of Mother’s Day, please reach out to us here at any time.
Survey Methodology: Clarus Commerce surveyed 1,491 U.S. consumers 18 and older in late January 2022.