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Last minute and more mobile: predictions for Valentine shopping 2015

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Figures from the front line of Valentine’s Day predict romantic shoppers are, even as we speak, leaving it later. eBay looked back at data from V-day 2014 and detected last-minute gift hunting, while Rakuten Marketing figures show more shoppers using mobile devices to identify suitable gifts.

eBay’s study found more than 18,000 unique user searches used the term ‘Valentine’ in the three days up to February 14, while By 8pm on February 13, shoppers were making five searches a minute using the term, with men twice as likely during this hour to be looking for women’s fashion brands as car parts.

As the deadline approached searches were more likely to be high value, with men appearing to wait to search until their partner had gone to bed. ‘Diamond’ was the most popular search term between 4am and 5am on February 12 2014, and again between 10pm and 11pm that day, while male shoppers made more than 6,000 searches for three top designer fashion brands between 5am and 6am on 13th February, showing what eBay says is an expanded ‘inspiration window’ for brands able to capture their interest with relevant messages.

At the eleventh hour, upmarket women’s gift ideas were among the top searches by men, as they looked for terms including ‘cashmere’, ‘leather’, ‘diamond’ as well as designer fashion brands.

Phuong Nguyen, director of eBay Advertising in the UK, said: “Uplift in marketing activity rightly begins well before Valentines Day itself, but thousands of men who have left it late will be opening their wallets in the final days and hours to make ‘panic purchases’. Inspiration is paramount during this unique shopping period – brands that are relevant and easy to interact stand the best chance of cashing in on the UK’s sizable last-minute shopping budget.”

Meanwhile, Rakuten Marketing saw analysed its UK affiliate network of more than 400 retailers to find sales on mobile devices account for a quarter (25%) of all sales made in the run up to Valentine’s Day, with smartphone sales increasing by 91% year on year. It suggests that as the smartphones with larger screens grow in popularity, shoppers are opting to buy through these devices ahead of desktops.

It said demand for luxury products such as jewellery grew ahead of last Valentine’s Day. Almost a third of shoppers (32.3%) used price comparison sites, but use of voucher sites in buying romantic gifts fell by 18%.

Mark Haviland, MD, Rakuten Marketing Europe, said: “By identifying the bestselling products and top performing channels for conversion during Valentine’s Day, brands can ensure they are developing targeted campaigns that will drive engagement amongst shoppers. To harness the growing popularity of mobile devices, retailers must invest in creating mobile responsive campaigns with slick creative, and prioritise content which is easily consumed on-the-go. It’s the retail marketers who have a mobile-first strategy that are likely to see red this Valentine’s Day.”

• Meanwhile, Tesco has produced figures that suggest one in five Brits first told their current partner they loved them via social media. To mark Valentine’s Day the retailer is projecting Valentine tweets onto the front of its Baldock store (see image).

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