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Valentine’s Shoppers broke records in 2019, spending more than $20.7 billion on the most popular gifts: candy, greeting cards, an evening out, flowers and jewelry. But why? What influenced consumers to spend billions of dollars on one romantic day? We used DemandJump’s Consumer Insights product to find out.
In this analysis, the DemandJump platform evaluated the interconnectivity of different search terms, questions, websites and internet videos to understand how consumers research and buy Valentine’s Day gifts.
This report shares insights around what else consumers care about when searching for:
- Valentine’s Day ideas
- Valentine’s Day ideas for 2020
- Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend
- Valentine’s Day ideas for boyfriend
The analysis uncovered all the searches and questions consumers ask, along with all the videos, websites and content they encounter when they enter any of the above four phrases into search engines. Once we had all the interconnected searches and content at our fingertips, we noticed a few themes that appeared over and over again. We found that these searches could be bucketed into 6 core topics:
- Surprising him/her
- Most popular and best gifts
- Creative, unique and DIY gifts
- Expressing romance and love
- Gifts for young and new love
After categorizing these searches and questions into 6 core topics, we took a look at what shows up the most—and what we found was pretty interesting.
Several of these themes appeared over and over again, but surprising that special guy in their life was by far the most common. The wish to surprise him was such a popular online topic that it accounted for one in five (20%) of the priority searches. Interestingly, more than a quarter (26%) of top videos watched were focused on how to surprise a boyfriend. Overall, the desire to surprise a guy tallied in at 15% of the top searches.
Men were featured in queries across the four starting topics, even when specific to “ideas for girlfriend.” In fact, we were rather surprised at the scarcity of online searches seeking ideas to surprise the ladies on Valentine’s Day. This type of search query appeared in the DemandJump report less than 1% of the time. Instead, their partners stuck to more predictable and rather uninspiring terms to find gift ideas for women, such as:
- best simple gift for girlfriend
- Valentine’s Day gifts for girlfriend
- what should I do for her on Valentine’s Day?
This makes us think back to research conducted by CreditDonkey.com in 2013. They surveyed over 650 men and women about what they planned to give their significant other for Valentine’s day, and conversely, what they wanted to receive on the holiday. While almost 70% of men planned to take their significant other out and buy them dinner, less than 50% of women actually wanted this. This said, when trying to decide what to get your significant other, it seems safe to assume that it’s not safe to assume—and men should do a little more research before buying this Valentine’s day.
Most popular and best gifts
Looking beyond those generic questions, about 15% of the queries analyzed were about:
- most popular gift on Valentine’s Day
- best gift for a girl on Valentine’s Day
- best gift for a boyfriend
Creative, unique and DIY gifts
A large cohort asked questions designed to reveal out-of-the-ordinary gifts and activities. Almost one-third (29%) of watched videos had titles like “10 Creative Gifts for Men,” “DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him” and others. They searched for such videos and other web content using terms that included:
- unique valentines day ideas
- thoughtful gifts for girlfriend
- creative gifts for girlfriend
- unique gift for boyfriend
Expressing romance and love
Most would say that the point of Valentine’s day is to be romantic with your significant other. But only 7.5% of these searches focused directly on love or romance. Those searches looked for the obvious with terms such as “romantic gifts for girlfriend” and “valentine gifts for him romantic.”
Gifts for young and new Love
Looking at tweens and teens, we analyzed how middle school and high school students looked for online help, and found that searches on this topic accounted for about 10% of the list. They wanted to get help with ideas for what to get their boyfriends and girlfriends. This group also included queries conducted by couples who would be exchanging gifts or Valentine greetings for the first time. They searched with highly focused terms that included:
- valentine’s day date ideas for teenage couples
- things to do on valentines day for teenage couples
- first valentine gift for boyfriend
- first valentine’s day ideas
It’s a bit surprising that men, despite spending more than twice as much as women on Valentine’s Day, don’t seem to use the web to help them make it a special day. From a marketing standpoint, it seems wise to focus efforts on promoting that day’s traditional gifts and activities to the guys. For the women, themes you might want to use could include romance, the surprise aspect and promoting the best, most creative and DIY gifts.
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