Author: Shachar Radin Shomrat, CMO, myThings
Romance was certainly in the air last month, as retailers and restaurants earned big from Valentine’s Day. It turns out that Cupid’s arrows don’t come cheap, with the National Retail Federation (NRF) suggesting that the most popular way to say ‘I love you’ was by flashing the cash.
In fact, they estimated that Americans would spend $19.7bn celebrating their love for one another – $1.9bn on flowers alone! – with 27.9% of people planning to do their Valentine’s Day spending online.
This was in line with the results of our own research, which further underlined just how important Valentine’s Day has become to retailers. We also looked at the ways technology is transforming how we romance one another.
1. Over half spend to mark the occasion
Despite protestations every year that romance is dead, the opposite remains true in America, with more than half (52.7%) expressing the intent to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for a loved one or crush ahead of 14 February.
Women were more likely to buy a gift for their Valentine, with 57.6% expressing an intent to purchase, compared to 47.4% of men.
These sorts of shifts in consumer behaviour are always interesting from a cultural perspective. Such insights present advertisers with a golden chance to capitalize on changing buying habits.
2. Online conversions ramp up over two weeks prior to 14 Feb
Beyond knowing who intends to spend, it is fundamental for advertisers planning campaigns in the build-up to events like Valentine’s Day to understand when spending takes place.
For 4.9% of respondents, romance is a very spontaneous thing with any sort of serious planning likely to douse the flames of passion, meaning they left it to the day itself to purchase a gift. At the other end of the spectrum, 9.6% said that they make a purchase two weeks or more prior to February 14th.
But the majority fell between these extremes, with 17.2% buying their Valentine’s Day gift a week before the day and 21.1% doing so a couple of days prior.
3. We’re using mobiles to buy gifts and book restaurants
Smartphones and tablets have transformed nearly every aspect of modern living and our love lives are no exception. When it comes to shopping apps specifically, there’s still some way to go with only 11.4% of our respondents using one to buy their Valentine’s Day gifts.
But mobile devices have had a big impact more generally, with 25% of mobile-savvy consumers having purchased a romantic gift using their device, while 17.8% have made a restaurant reservation and 17.2% have booked a hotel.
Streaming content such as TV and movies for a romantic night on the sofa has also become more popular, with 16% admitting to wooing a loved one in this fashion – the beauty of their eyes no doubt accentuated by the soft glow of the ‘Are You Still Watching--?’ Netflix screen in the background.
4. Location plays a huge role in determining the services we use
To say location is important to the mobile advertising landscape is something of an understatement. The added dimension it offers retailers and marketers alike cannot be undervalued.
Location has a massive impact on the sorts of services that people are using their mobile devices for, with restaurant bookings (15.2%) much likelier among those living in urban areas than in the suburbs (12%) or country (2.9%).
On the flipside, the former appear much more willing to get out and about during events such as Valentine’s Day, with activities such as streaming much more popular among suburban (13%) and rural (11.4%) dwellers than their urban counterparts (7.1%).
5. Men engage more with Valentine’s Day advertising
Men are potentially more inclined to seek help for inspiration when it comes to buying the perfect gift. In fact, 23.8% of male respondents answered positively when asked if they had ever clicked on a mobile ad for a Valentine’s Day-related offer, compared to 12.1% of women – nearly twice the proportion.
The reasons people give for clicking on ads are also enlightening, with 34.9% of those who had done so saying it was the size of the discount offered that attracted them, while 28.9% were swayed by free shipping and 27.7% had their curiosity piqued by the product or service being advertised.
Fear of Missing Out (FoMo) can be a very powerful motivator, too, with 8.4% admitting that they clicked on an ad because they were worried they would otherwise miss out on a bargain.