Ten days and counting until Valentine’s Day, coming up on February 14! Consumers, getting serious about their plans this week and early next, are expected to spend a total of $18.6 billion on what has become one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). This works out to an average of $130.97 per person, up just slightly over the $126.03 per person last year.
Although this could indicate that consumers may be exercising a tad more caution in spending, businesses of all sizes and types expect to see a Valentine’s Day-related boost in sales. And business owners, there’s still time to encourage your customers to give to the ones they love!
While flowers, chocolate and dinner out were once pretty much the standard for Valentine’s Day, NRF says that non-traditional gifts are growing in popularity, in addition to more traditional ones. More than half (51.0%) will buy candy ($1.6 billion), and another third (36.6%) will give flowers ($1.9 billion). Then there are the jewelry buyers (19.7%), who are expected to spend a total of $4.4 billion on diamonds, gold and silver. Clothing and gift cards are real up-and-comers, with spending forecast at over $1.5 billion in each category.
But really, anything goes as evidenced in this great guide to non-traditional gifts. (This was from last year but is still has terrific ideas!) It really boils down to what would delight the recipient—and your budget, of course. This is where retailers can really add value to customers: Helping them come up with their own unique ideas for gifts; in fact, many Valentine’s Day shoppers are dying for fresh ideas! How about services (a day at a spa or hours of house cleaning) or repackaging existing items (like books, wine and a comfy throw for an avid reader)? What about offering kits or supplies for adventurous customers who want to give the ultimate personal gift—something they make themselves? We’re thinking of the guy who built an elaborate bird feeder for his bird-watching wife…
The gifts themselves aren’t the only things about Valentine’s Day that have gone non-traditional. NRF points out that the holiday’s not just for couples any more: Over 60 percent will buy for other family members, while others buy gifts for friends and co-workers. And let’s not forget Fluffy and Fido. Over 20 percent will buy gifts for their pets, too.
Independentwestand.org, a movement to promote and stimulate ‘buying local,’ reminds us that where and how consumers spend can make a difference. The group claims that if every family in the country spent $100 of their Valentine’s Day shopping budget at locally owned, independent businesses, over $7.8 billion would be directly returned to local communities!
Aside from your customers buying gifts for loved ones, many suggest that Valentine’s Day is a good time for businesses to return the favor and show appreciation to customers and clients. Find interesting suggestions here.
Others encourage businesses to make Valentine’s Day a time to recognize employee performance and ‘show some love’ to the people who make it possible for you to run your business every day!