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How will shoppers buy this Valentine’s Day – and how much will they spend? 

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Studies ahead of Valentine’s Day on Monday variously suggest that shoppers will be spending less than usual, are happier to buy secondhand items, and are also on the lookout for unusual gifts.

How much?

UK shoppers will spend £1.37bn – or an average £22 per person – on Valentine’s Day in 2022, according to research from personal finance comparison site That’s down from £1.45bn in 2020 – just ahead of the pandemic – when shoppers spent an average £38 each. But it’s up from 2021, when shoppers spent £926 million – £23 per person.

However, parcels carrier Yodel says it will be a bumper year for Valentine’s Day ecommerce, with hundreds of thousands of bouquets being prepared for delivery. It says numbers are at a similar level to last year, despite wider warnings of a cost of living crisis. Nearly half (46%) of those it questioned through its Have Your Say customer feedback programme say they will spend more than £30.

Sam Holden, CCO of Yodel, says: “Valentine’s Day is a sentimental time of the year and we’re proud to play a key role in delivering gifts up and down the country, with drivers playing cupid and delighting recipients with their special gifts. The whole Yodel family steps up to plan for key dates like Valentine’s Day to ensure that all of our specialist items – such as flowers – are handled correctly and delivered on time.”

How and what?

A growing number of Valentine’s shoppers are happy to look online for secondhand gifts, according to online charity sales platform Shopiago. It found 23% had received, or would be happy to receive a second-hand Valentine’s Day present, with 17% saying they would buy one this year for their loved one.

The survey of 2,000 people, carried out in February 2022, also found that younger people are the most sustainable shoppers, with 31% of 18 to 25-year-olds happy to buy a second hand Valentine’s Day present, compared to just 10% of 55 to 64-year-olds. Just 7% of younger people claimed they’d never buy anything second hand, compared to 34% of the over 55s.

Thom Bryan, head of product at Shopiago, which works with charities including the British Red Cross, Sue Ryder, Barnardo’s and the British Heart Foundation to sell shop donations online: “People are really starting to see the benefits of buying second-hand gifts for special occasions like Valentine’s Day, as well as birthdays, Christmas and weddings – pre-loved gifts are thoughtful, unique, great value for money, and better for the environment. Plus if you buy from charity shops, it has the added feel-good factor of helping a good cause. Charities of all sizes understand this, and online sales are making up an increasingly large proportion of their retail revenue.”

Yodel has also found evidence in analysis of almost 3,000 responses to its Have Your Say programme that shoppers are preparing to buy unique gifts, from owl and bee boxes to Harry Potter wands. A quarter say they will buy flowers and plants, and 22% perfume and aftershave, followed by clothes and lingerie (21%).

Digital payments company Square has found that between January 31 and February 6, 2022, demand for items and treatments with “love” in the name was four times higher compared to the same week in 2021. It says that sales of “hearts” products increased by 57.7% this year, and chocolate sales by 44.9%. Additionally, it found, buyers also bought 76.5% more gift cards than over the same period last year – “showing that despite uncertainty around what might continue to stay open, consumers want to give flexible gifts and support businesses”.

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