In the United States, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest consumer holidays after the Christmas holiday season and Mother’s Day. In 2015, data from a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey suggested that approximately $19 billion was spent on gifts, flowers, dining out, spas, and apparel. No doubt 2017 will be a lover’s spending spree too.
But what can small businesses learn from all this spending data? Here are some tips for using market trends, predictions and statistics to better focus your marketing efforts this year.
5 Key Valentine’s Day Trends
Women Buy More, But Spend Less
We often think of the social pressure that men face when it comes to buying the right gift for Valentine’s Day. However, although men do spend more than women on V-Day gifts, research shows that women show more love to more people. These include co-workers, pets, friends, siblings, school teachers, children, and their children’s classmates.
Given these demands, it’s no surprise that women shoppers are on the hunt for a bargain when it comes to gift buying, and they head to discount stores such as Walmart and Target to find them (a fact corroborated in a study by the Georgetown Institute for Consumer Research).
So what’s a small business owner to do? Rather than neglect this valuable buyer, look for ways to attract female customers by focusing on products that aren’t expensive and would be appropriate as gifts for the range of recipients they are buying for. Check out these tips from Smart Retailer on how to entice busy, bargain-hunting female customers.
Men Gravitate Towards Specialty / Boutique Stores
Interestingly, while women head to larger discount outlets for V-Day gift buying, the Georgetown Institute for Consumer Research study found that men are much more likely to shop at retailers that they don’t normally frequent, such as smaller specialty stores and boutiques.
Given that men typically spend twice as much as women on V-Day gifts as women, this is a great opportunity for targeted marketing by a variety of small businesses, not just jewelers and florists. Tailor your marketing so you entice male shoppers towards higher price point items and tweak your content messaging so it appeals to the male audience.
Pets Are a Big Part of the Holiday
Couples love their pets as much as each other. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, one in five respondents include their pets in their Valentine’s Day plans and looked to spend an average of $5.28. That’s not a lot of money, but it equates to $703 million overall. If you’re in the business of catering to pets and their owners, don’t forget to include the holiday in your marketing plans. Dog sitting/walking businesses could send a card to each of their doggy clients. If you run a retail operation, look at adding Valentine’s Day-themed merchandise and offers around this time.
When People Shop Matters
As with all holidays, it’s important to know when customers are buying and to plan your promotional and product strategy around that. This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday, so expect a surge of last-minute shoppers on Monday, February 13th and even into the holiday itself. Given the pattern of last-minute spending, plan on sending your emails throughout the week and weekend before Valentine’s Day.
Email Buzzwords that Work
Speaking of email, the volume of email marketing around Valentine’s Day is second only to the Christmas holidays, so it’s super important to optimize your subject line so that you stand out. What words drive the best email open rates? According to Experian Marketing Services (and cited here by Email on Acid), the highest-performing subject lines around this time are “gift and card ideas”, “personalized greetings”, “sweet”, and the inclusion of a heart symbol or emoji. Here are more tips for improving your email open rates (including segmenting your list for success, and more).