Valentine's Day 2021 by the numbers
Traditional Valentine’s Day bounty is taking a hit this year. How that will affect romance in America is anybody’s guess. But responses to a recent survey by research company Numerator indicate a lot of the holiday's treasured gifts and activities are going to be replaced by home-cooked meals and takeout.
Only 31% of respondents said they planned to buy flowers as gifts, down 15 points from those who bought them in 2020, according to the survey.
The same holds true for other holiday-related categories: Clothes, accessories, jewelry, alcohol and candy were all down nearly 10 points. (See charts below.) In 2020, right before the pandemic began to lock down the U.S., more than 84% of respondents said they’d given candy, the most-gifted category. This year, candy-giving will drop nearly 10 points, with 75% of respondents saying they will be buying sweets. Marketers are employing new strategies, with good results.
“We started selling Valentine’s Day items earlier this year, which led to our best January in company history and many of our items sold out earlier than anticipated,” said Pat Egan, President-CEO of Berkshire Hathaway's See’s Candies, in a statement. “… we launched a new pick-up service called Click, Pick, and Go, partnered with DoorDash, and launched e-gift cards to ensure that our customers have options to purchase their favorite candies.”
Rick Fossali, VP, Fannie May Confections Brands, echoes See’s: “We are seeing an upwards trend in how our guests are choosing their chocolate experience with an increase in curbside pickup, UberEats and online ordering for local delivery.” He says Fannie May expects double digit growth versus last year.
Unsurprisingly, more than half of survey respondents plan to buy online. And more than 57% plan to buy Valentine’s gifts from mass retailers such as Target and Walmart. Grocery stores came in a distant second, with slightly more than 37% of respondents indicating that's where they'd shop for the holiday.
When asked how they plan to celebrate, significantly fewer respondents said they planned activities outside the home than did in 2020. This is not a surprise since local COVID mediation regulations continue to limit restaurant capacity or keep them closed. Plans to “go out to eat” dropped 27 points, to 17% of respondents in 2021 from about 45% in 2020.
The big winners were “cooking at home,” up 10 points to nearly 35% of all respondents, and “order takeout/food delivery,” up 12 points to nearly 26%.
In 2020, marketers spent more than $32 million on U.S. media advertising for Valentine’s Day-related merchandise and activities, according to research company Kantar. The top two U.S. advertisers were Kay Jewelers at $9 million and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, at $6 million.
It’s too early to know what’s been spent in 2021, but it appears likely spending will be significantly lower. All jewelry advertising (including watches) for January through November 2020 was down 35% versus the same period last year.