Ah Valentine’s day is upon us… I am sure my local sorting office has already taken on many extra staff just to process my cards alone. Well, it is now a sort of new peak isn’t it?
To me, Valentine’s day is really the first peak of the new year: while it isn’t a hook for all retailers, in these desperately competitive times, any event is worth latching on to. And Valentine’s day provides this hook for many.
As we see this week, sales around Valentine’s Day have seen an uptick and will continue to do so right up to the day itself. Savvy predicts that the value of Valentine’s to retailers will reach £726m for 2017, up £39m from last year. More than a half (56%) of the UK shoppers report that they will be going online to buy gifts for their loved ones, which is an increase to 70% amongst 18-34 year-olds.
And this I think takes it into peak territory. People now shop for all sorts of things on Valentine’s Day. Traditional chocolates and cards and flowers still rake in a king’s ransom, but people treat it more like a day to get the people they love a gift. Research from the rather sexily named Mastercard Love Index shows that spend on experiences and meals is going to up this year. Other research also points to spend being made not just on husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends and lovers, but also increasingly on sons, daughters, parents, grandparents and even – pass me the sick bucket – teachers and bosses.
All this points to a peak in my book and either marks the beginning of the ups and downs of the retail year, or retail is becoming a business that has to keep peaking most of the time to keep customers coming back for more.
In sitting in as editor of InternetRetailing.net this week while my esteemed colleague Chloe Rigby has gone on holiday, I have seen a lot of press information about the impact of Valentine’s Day on retail and, more interestingly, how that and Lunar Day and Chinese New Year are also being added to the ‘peak’ diary of many retailers.
From my point of view, it looks very much like retailers are looking for as many peaks as possible – ideally small peaks, we don’t want Black Friday every week – to keep the tills ringing. This is taking them further afield and hanging sales around increasingly bizarre rituals and events.
And I for one love it.
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Chloe Rigby is away