The findings, from marketing technology firm RadiumOne, shows waning interest and an ‘over-commercialisation’ of Valentine’s Day.
This means that marketers need to be ‘smarter’ around harnessing connected devices and more ‘last-minute’ about campaigns – particularly as consumer research and purchasing tends to peak in the last few days.
One in four (24%) adults say Valentine’s Day is over-commercialised while the most popular reason for not celebrating (aside from a lack of partner) is ‘not wanting to feel forced’ (24%). Only 14% of adults are noticeably positive about the day.
“The commercialisation and sense of obligation mean marketers must be far smarter about how they promote Valentine’s Day to avoid alienating consumers further,” says Rupert Staines, RadiumOne’s European Managing Director. “The good news is technology can help. It provides extra data to improve targeting and has enabled a longer window, by pushing planning behaviour right up until the last minute.”
Technology’s role in romance
Overall, nearly half of people (49%) will use a digital device for researching and buying Valentine’s gifts; 27% alone will use a smartphone or tablet for research, one in five (19%) actually purchasing on them.
Using digital devices for research/buying rises considerably, to nearly two-thirds (64%) of 18-34s. 44% of 18-34s use a smartphone or tablet for research.
Purchasing is becoming more last-minute
Seven in ten (71%) adults don’t start planning Valentine’s Day until February (up from 64% a year ago). Those leaving it to the week before rose to 35%.
In fact, RadiumOne analysed over 250,000 pieces of Valentine’s Day and gift-related content shared online (77% of which happens on smartphones) over a two-month period to reveal activity rises dramatically from the 11 February and peaks on the day itself.In turn, an analysis of 2.1 million online purchases during a two-week period revealed online purchasing activity during Valentine’s week via desktop computers peaked the day before the big day whilst purchasing via mobile peaked on the actual day.
The role of ‘Dark Social’
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Valentine’s content happens in ‘dark social’ – outside of social networks on email, instant messenger and forums.
“There are three easy wins for marketers to address consumers’ waning interest in Valentine’s,” concludes Staines. “Understand the role of different devices in planning and purchasing, be aware you have right up until the day itself to make your moves and ensure you have visibility into dark social, as you could be missing 75% of leads available to you. It’s about getting the right plumbing in place to track whose doing and sharing what across which devices.”
Valentine’s gift spend among adults will fall 3% to £908.2 million* – the 5% drop in participants being slightly offset by the 8% rise in spend (to £39.80) among people who will. Restaurants and travel companies will be most hit – a meal out and a night away both see the biggest decrease (8%) in numbers purchasing.
The questionnaire part of the research was undertaken by research agency Mindmover. The total sample size was 1,000 people aged 18 and over. The survey was conducted online during 20-25 January 2016. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).