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Retailers offering fast delivery options set to see last-minute Valentine’s Day boom

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Retailers who offer click and collect, same-day delivery and other last-minute options could be in for a Valentine’s Day windfall courtesy of lovers who have left it late to buy their loved one a gift.

Research from online shopping platform Give as you Live found that while one in five (17%) shoppers buy their gift anywhere from a week to a month in advance, and a third (36%) buy anytime between a week and few days before Valentine’s Day, almost half (45%) will buy their gift the day before, or even on their way to see their partner. That could spell dividends for retailers with strong fast delivery options.

“Men and woman across the UK are leaving it late for their Valentine’s Day purchases so retailers need to be prepared to make the most of this surge of last minute buys, “ said Polly Gowers, chief executive and founder of Give as you Live. She added: “Options such as click and collect and express delivery can be the difference in the consumer decision making process as well as helping to drive ecommerce sales during the busy Valentine’s season.”

The findings were reinforced by new research from Tesco that found 85% per cent of all Valentine’s Day bouquets were bought on the day itself, with three-quarters of all Valentine’s Day chocolates sold on February 14, a third of them after working hours.

All in all, says Sage Pay, Britons are set to spend more than £1.5bn online today, going online from mid-morning to look for gifts for their loved ones. Sage Pay says that this is the time shoppers are looking for same-day delivery for cards, flowers and presents.

Simon Black, chief executive at Sage Pay , said: “Gone are the days when you might trawl the high street in search of the perfect present. As an increasingly time-squeezed nation, the nation’s Romeos and Juliets prefer to turn to the web to spoil their loved ones – usually logging on in their lunch hours. Today, panic-buyers are likely to hit their shops even earlier in the hope they’ll be in time for the same day delivery options.”

Give to Live research found Britons would spend an average of £28 per person on gifts. But a third (29%) of those in a relationship spend nothing at all while 25% spend £20 or less.

But Sage Pay estimates average spending will top £100.

“With transaction numbers and values increasing year on year, consumers are clearly increasingly reliant on the online shopping experience,” said Black. “Given the revenue opportunity this creates for businesses, it’s crucial that retailers are equipped to handle these spikes in demand and can cater for the often last minute requests from their customers, to ensure Brits aren’t left gift-less – or in the dog house.”

Meanwhile, a study from Rakuten Marketing found that although Valentine’s Day shoppers leave it till the last minute, British shoppers are more prepared than others around the world. Affiliate network Rakuten Linkshare saw UK sales spike eight days before Valentine’s Day. But in 2013, the most popular day around the world for buying gifts was two days before Valentine’s Day. In the UK, however, basket sizes were 20% down on the same time last year.

“Captivating consumers with a timely offer or the promise of delivery in time for Valentine’s Day are brilliant ways to tap into the last-minute attitude of couples purchasing,” said Mark Haviland, managing director, Rakuten Marketing Europe.

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