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Should any retailer aside from florists and candy invest in a robust Valentine’s Day marketing plan? And, after two years of bouncing between physical isolation, masked in-person gatherings and a relentless amount of virtual activities, are consumers really in the mood to celebrate love this year, anyway? Oh yes, possibly more than ever.
Right before the big shut down, 2020’s V Day broke records hitting $27 billion in spending. Then, despite the Delta variant emerging (and also because of it), 2021 saw a dip in spending but consumers still spent a sky high $21.8 billion. This year, even after the most recent Covid surge, retailers can expect spending to jump back up to $27 billion, as Americans return to evenings out and continue showing love to those they still can’t see f2f.
It may be right around the corner, but retailers and brands still have ample opportunity to optimize sales and consumer engagement this February 14th. We searched the web for the best Valentine’s Day marketing tips to share. To properly prep, let’s talk about:
- Who are the target shoppers this holiday?
- What are these shoppers likely to buy?
- How can we engage and convert this V Day consumer?
1. Millennials Are The Splurgers
The pandemic may have constrained many consumers’ finances, but it also expanded our definition of connection and recalculated the value we place on each type of relationship we’ve managed to maintain. Feeling the absence of in person contact, 2021 Valentine’s Day marketing became more inclusive than ever, inspiring all types of gifting—romantic, platonic, pet and self. 2022 is poised to do the same.
So, who is doing all this expanded gifting? Men a bit more so than women, but if 2021 is any indication, we can count on Millennials (both singles and those with families, ages 25-44) to generally outspend all others. This age group has plenty of reasons to participate in the day of love:
- Older Millennials have young families with school-aged children and classmates/teachers to give to.
- Those on the younger side are single but active on dating apps and wanting to celebrate with new love interests.
- Some subscribe to the alternative anti-Valentine’s Day or Galentines Day celebrations which debuted in 2010 when many Millennials were first coming on the dating scene.
- This group’s non-Valentine’s shopping trends show they are happy to spend on self-care, friends and fur babies on a number of occasions, this one being no exception.
2. Classic Gifts Still Control The Cart
Jewelry, flowers/plants, lingerie/perfume and candy. These cliche gifts will likely still dominate shopping lists if we follow past years’ trends and current gift guides like this one. But, we’re interested to see if the non-traditional items, like clothing and gift cards, bring in as much (or more) than last year.
Gen Z and Millennials proved uninterested in “over-the-top romantic content” and less personal gifts in recent years. They’re celebrating different kinds of love and connection without a desire to overhype or drastically overspend. For our retailer friends in the pet, self-care, specialty and clothing categories, this year could prove to garner more engagement from consumers than the bigger jewelry-type ticket items. Even the virtual experience sector could see some action.
Millennial shopping habits have changed over the pandemic, so is it a stretch to think their gifting preferences have, too? With spending on non-romantic relationships increasing year over year, perhaps the unconventional tokens of appreciation can take a bigger chunk of the sales and Valentine’s Day marketing content.
3. Whatever You’re Selling, There’s A Strategy To Sell It
Taking a few cues from the greatest campaign hits of 2021 Valentine’s Day, retailers and brands can connect with (Millennial) shoppers both offline and online in a variety of clever, authentic, engaging ways. Here are just a few.
- Launch a free-product contest that relies on contestants referring or tapping friends for more entries to win (like The Body Shop or last year).
- Create an interactive campaign on a micro-site or your app that showcases an aspect of your brand or a new product.
- Encourage and promote user generated content across channels (like RyanAir).
- Produce some relatable and/or heartwarming video content, depending on your platonic or romantic angle (like Panera).
- Double down on loyalty rewards with giveaways, extra points, free bonuses, etc.
- Think outside the romance box—be inclusive and really focus on promoting the types of connections that make sense for your brand. Is that first dates, pet love, Galentines, anti-Valentine’s, self-care or something else?
This day has come a long way from being just a “Hallmark Holiday” at which singles roll their eyes and jewelry stores throw their cheesiest marketing. Even before the pandemic, Millennials, in particular, began realizing this holiday can be about much more than relationship status. If you have the right message and product match-up, there’s a good chance plenty of shoppers will celebrate with you.
We’re sending our entire community of retailers, brands and solution providers lots of marketing love this month—and all months. Check out one of our recent webinars about maximizing your gifting opportunities overall, not just this February 14th. Happy V Day!