Opportunity Lies in Experiential Spending for Valentine’s Day

BY Courtney Huckabay
Featured image for “Opportunity Lies in Experiential Spending for Valentine’s Day”

NRF says consumers will spend $18.2 billion on Valentine’s Day. After a decade-​long increase in Valentine’s Day spending is expected to finally see a market correction this year, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Consumers plan to spend $4.3 billion on jewelry (given by 19 percent of shoppers), $3.8 billion on an evening out (37 percent), $2 billion on flowers (35 percent), $1.9 billion on clothing (19 percent), $1.7 billion on candy (50 percent), $1.4 billion on gift cards/​gift certificates (16 percent) and $1 billion on greeting cards (47 percent).

An "evening out" could include taking in the performing arts. The most recent AudienceSCAN study showed 6.2% of Valentine's Day Celebrators intend to buy season tickets to ballet, or Broadway Across America, or symphony. Or a vineyard visit! 23.5% of celebrators went to wineries in the past year.

Also popular this year are “gifts of experience” such as tickets to a concert or sporting event, a gym membership or an outdoor adventure. While 40 percent of consumers want an experience gift, only 24 percent plan to give one.

Advertisers can tag along with this trend and promote experiential opportunities and V‑day experience packages! The latest AudienceSCAN survey found 15% of those who celebrate Valentine's Day at hotels/​restaurants want to attend auto shows this year, and 13% want to go to film festivals.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average $136.57, down from last year’s record-​high $146.84. Total spending is expected to reach $18.2 billion, down from $19.7 billion last year, which was also a record.

Valentine's Day Celebrators can make a long weekend out of the occasion and go see a comedy show – 14% said they want comedian/​comedy show tickets in the AudienceSCAN survey. Another 11% want to take trips to a professional/​college sporting event out-of-town.

Valentine’s Day continues to be a popular gift-​giving occasion even if consumers are being more frugal this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “This is one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care regardless of their budget. Consumers will find that retailers recognize that their customers are looking for the best deals and will offer good bargains just as they did during the holiday season.”

Starting at an average $119.67 for a total of $16.9 billion in 2007, Valentine’s spending grew most years over the past decade before hitting last year’s record. But the number of people surveyed who plan to celebrate the holiday has dropped by nearly 10 percentage points over the same period from 63 percent in 2007 to 54 percent this year.

Advertisers can appeal to the bargain hunters with daily deals. The most recent AudienceSCAN survey reported 58% of Valentine's Day Celebrators took action after they saw daily deals!

This year’s survey found consumers plan to spend an average $85.21 on their significant other/​spouse, $26.59 on other family members such as children or parents, $6.56 on children’s classmates/​teachers, $6.51 on friends, $4.27 on co-​workers, and $4.44 on pets.

Consumers plan to shop at department stores (35 percent), discount stores (32 percent), online (27 percent), specialty stores (18 percent), florists (18 percent), and local small businesses (15 percent).

Valentine's Day Celebrators look to their local media to find out what's happening on the town. The AudienceSCAN study revealed 11% learn about nearby concerts, shows and events from their local entertainment/​city guides, 15% listen to the radio for event announcements and 19% turn to their newspapers.

While fewer are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, millions of shoppers will still make room in their budgets to spoil their loved ones,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Consumers can expect promotions on everything from flowers to date-​night dinner packages in the coming days, leaving plenty of ideas for those looking to spoil their Valentines.”

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.