Valentine’s Day presents brands and retailers with the opportunity to match shoppers with the perfect gift for their loved ones. With just over half of consumers, 53 per cent, expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, retail is expecting an instant boom. The recipients of all this gift-giving no longer need to be significant others, with brands also championing friendship and self-love to be celebrated on the 14th of February. Forecasts and analysts have been underestimating the p
ing the purchasing power of consumers during the current economic climate and cost-of-living crisis, including Black Friday and Christmas sales, but inflation doesn’t seem to be holding back the celebration. Valentine’s Day spending is expected to hit a record high in 2024 with consumers estimated to spend US$25.8 billion this year, according to a report released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The same survey that projected high spending found that the Valentine’s classics are still going strong with candy, greeting cards and flowers making up the top three choices, followed by dining out and jewellery. Can’t put a price on love The price point of gifts varies depending on the category, but there is a product tier for every budget. However, consumers expect on average to spend US$185 each, which is close to US$8 more than the average Valentine’s Day spending in the last five years. Valentine’s Day, a holiday catapulted by Hallmark in 1913 with the mass production of Valentines, presents retail with an opportunity to drive sales while helping customers find the perfect gift. While the commercialisation of love is a topic of controversy every year the date rolls around, the significant year-on-year spending increase proves the day carries meaning for a large segment of the population. The February holiday has long created big business for chocolatiers, florists and jewellers, but in the digital and social media age, consumers are turning to websites to purchase their Valentines’ something sentimental. Online will continue to prevail as the most popular destination for consumers to shop for Valentine’s Day gifts this year at 40 per cent, a 5 per cent bump since last year, according to the National Retail Federation. It’s coming up roses Flowers have long been traditional gifts for loved ones, but this year, a new record is projected to be set, with an estimated US$2.7 billion to be spent on flowers this Valentine’s Day. Lvly, an online flower delivery brand based in Australia, is gearing up for both the online and floral boom taking place this Valentine’s Day, which is its busiest day of the year second only to Mother’s Day. For Lvly’s co-founder Hannah Spilva, Valentine’s Day, despite being a single day in the calendar, is a marathon not a sprint in terms of preparation. “The planning for Valentine’s Day starts months in advance. We spend a lot of time in forecasting mode, crunching numbers to set the goalposts. It’s always a fine balance between optimising market opportunity and stretching ourselves without risking the quality of product and service,” Spilva disclosed. The one-day love affair requires the brand to scale every facet of the business; securing extra flowers, and onboarding additional florists, pick-packers, and drivers. Just last year Lvly (pronounced ‘lovely’) saw a 27 per cent year-on-year increase in sales for Valentine’s Day and it has projected a further increase in Valentine’s Day orders this year. Lvly’s operations far exceed that of a local florist, with its international expansion now catering to markets in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, following its acquisition by Malaysian e-commerce group Limitless in 2022. Amongst those who celebrate the day of love, 39 per cent of romantics plan on purchasing flowers, which Lvly is ready to deliver along with some added extras. “We wanted an iconic collaboration to celebrate the milestone and it doesn’t get much more iconic than Kylie. We’ve launched a stunning limited edition LVLY x Kylie flower jar paired with the Kylie Minogue signature rose prosecco,” said Spilva. “There’s also a new range of mystery date night experiences, more flowers and plants to choose from and plenty for the foodies and sweet tooths out there,” she added. Spilva is using Valentine’s Day to hard-launch a new DTC flower brand, Rose Rush, which she co-created with Limitless to re-ignite and modernise the selling of roses. “It’s a range where premium roses are very much the leading lady. Rose Rush is about re-defining the art of giving roses – pairing the world’s most beautiful roses with cult products from Australian brands and delivering it with an unboxing experience that brings an intense rush of joy and excitement to the receiver,” Spilva explained. For Lvly’s and Rose Rush’s teams, flowers are not a cop-out gift this Valentine’s Day but a sincere declaration of love. “The ritual of giving flowers is as old as time, it’s a classic declaration of love, support, friendship and intimacy. Who doesn’t love flowers and who doesn’t want more nature in their lives?” concluded Spilva.