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The effects of love on our spending

Hero valentinesday Hero valentinesday Placehoder
12 FEBRUARY 2020

Day full of flowers, chocolate and teddy bears – its cupid’s favorite time of the year, Valentine’s Day. We all know that emotions guide our actions and behavior in many aspects and when it comes to shopping, it’s no different. Let’s look into how Valentine’s Day affects us as consumers and how it boosts sales in specific industries.

A phenomenon that originates from a pagan festival, is now considered the most romantic day of the year and a huge sales boost for some retailors. Only in USA, Valentine's Day related retail sales grew from $19.2 billion in 2018 to whopping $20.7 billion the next year, 2019. What makes it even more interesting, is that only 51% of Americans announced they even celebrate Valentine’s Day.

As many other holidays, Valentine’s Day in its current form originates from the USA, but has spread all over the world. In United Kingdom, this love filled celebration has almost 7% higher sales than two other spending seasons, Easter and Mother’s Day. The top purchases seem to stay the same across borders; chocolate, restaurant dinners and flowers.

Different perspective, same phenomenon

Although Valentine’s Day is also a love filled time of year here in the Nordics, it seems like we have taken another view on it too. In Sweden the day is called “All hearts day” making it also a family affair and in Finland the day is dedicated to friendships, “Friend’s Day”. This is why it’s no surprise that from the 45% of Swedes planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day, 17% would buy a present to someone other than their partner.

Regardless who the Nordic people are buying presents for, the gifts seem to be quite similar – at least the flowers. According to Bambora’s data for flower shops in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, the sales increase by 490% on Valentine’s Day compared to an average day on that time of year. The data also shows that the purchasing amount per customer is not higher, but more people buy flowers during cupid’s holiday. Unlike in UK or USA, where retailers see growth on Valentine’s Day sales, in the Nordics there seems to be barely any growth from 2018 to 2019.

This is an interesting comparison to another spending peak, Black Friday, where it is not only the number of purchases that grow, but also the values of the purchases. During the big sales week around Black Friday, people shop more premium items than they would normally do. These two sales peaks are driven by very different reasons; for Black Friday it is the rush of a great bargain and for Valentine’s Day it’s the expression of love towards a partner, family or friends.

Next Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and it will be interesting to see how the Nordics will behave this year. Will you be buying present to your loved one?