Valentine’s Day; Trends, Spends & Strategy

Joining the likes of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Halloween, Valentine’s Day is up there as one of the shortest, yet highly profitable annual celebrations in the global calendar. With the past decade showing an 138% uplift in Valentine’s Day related shopping, the ‘love economy’ is undoubtedly booming, and this is only set to increase in the coming years.

Matilda Rose Moir

Looking back at 2021, we can see that, while investment may differ, celebration does not. Valentine’s Day is a global entity recognized worldwide. From the top spenders in Hong Kong and the UK, to the low spenders in Kazakhstan and Nigeria, 2021 showed us exactly how globally relevant February the 14th is.


So what’s in store for Valentine’s Day 2022?

What Can We Expect?

Love is very much in the air for consumer spending this year, with gifts and experiences being bought for multiple parties aside from lovers, partners and spouses (e.g. friends, co-workers and pets). In the US alone, consumers in 2021 spent an average of $30.19 on (non spouse) family members, $12.21 on pets and $14.69 on friends – and this is only expected to increase in 2022. There’s also been a significant rise in self-gifting, with various brands opting for the ‘love yourself’ messaging in the last few years. Not to mention the birth of alternative, or untraditional Valentine’s Day concepts, such as ‘Galentines’ hitting the market – offering multiple new sales avenues for brands. This increase in spending, stipulates an increase in opportunity, and while Valentine’s Day may be a short shopping window, it’s certainly not a small one. 

Valentine’s Day gifting has transgressed significantly from the ‘traditional’ roses and chocolates in the last decade. Electronics, jewelry, cosmetics and experiences have all crept their way into the top spot over the years with 74.6% of women in Italy and 22% of women in South Africa choosing perfume over flowers, and approximately 33% of US consumers spending over $4.3 billion on Valentine’s Day dinners and takeouts. Worldwide we expect to see a significant increase in Valentine’s related purchases from mid-January onwards. Regardless of product variation, search for ‘valentine’s day’ is already up, and January month-to-date interest, as reported by Google trends, is on average 69% stronger compared to the same time last year. (Valentines Day Daily Search interest: 2022 vs 2021; Source = Google Trends).

In addition to search increase, while the hype last year was around all things materialistic, and more importantly, deliverable gifts (due to Covid-19 restrictions), 2022 will likely see an uplift in physical Valentine’s Day experiences – such as hotel reservations, dining, arts/culture and travel. 

2022 Valentine’s Day Trends

Given research started early, we’d expect the shopping phase to mirror this trend and kick off early too – a trend we’ve seen echoed over multiple festive periods. Experienced online shoppers will now be well aware of supply chain issues and the impact of Covid-19 on delivery times so we’d expect delivery cut off dates to be a crucial decision making factor for any online Valentine’s Day purchases. 

In terms of spend, whilst the majority of shoppers are planning to spend approximately the same amount as last year, 10% are planning to spend more this year compared to the year before – according to Google. Internally we’ve seen an average order value delivered by our Valentine’s Day campaigns rising by 18% from 2020 to 2021.

Valentine’s Day Strategy

With such a short time frame or ‘shopping window’ it’s crucial for advertisers to strike the right cord when it comes to Valentine’s Day. While the focus should undoubtedly be on performance and business growth, it’s important to put the customer at the heart of your strategy – channelling authenticity and personality.  

We’ve curated some of our key considerations to take into account ahead of time to nurture success this Valentine’s Day.

Love is Love; Thoughtful Marketing

As consumers strive for inclusivity, advertisers should be recognizing the value, and importance of embracing real-world diversity – especially when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Love is very much love, and brands need to be mirroring real-world demographics within their campaigns – deviating from the stereotypical heterosexual depictions of relationships. Inclusivity is key, and brands should strive to represent each and every family, and relationship dynamic. With Valentine’s day falling within Pride month in the UK, it’s an important reminder to be gender inclusive in your messaging. Consider phrases such as ‘Whoever You’re Loving This Valentine’s’ or ‘Show That Special Person You Love Them’, to ensure products are accessible to the LGBT+ community. 

Social Commerce & The Complete (Online) Customer Journey

It’s crucial to address your awareness, consideration and conversion funnel in the build up to Valentine’s Day. With 40.5% of consumers preferring to browse on social media platforms before purchasing via ecommerce sites, it’s crucial that advertisers consider how their campaigns run across the whole customer journey – from original awareness on one channel, to eventual conversion on a different channel. Your Valentine’s Day messaging and marketing should be echoed across all touchpoints – subconsciously navigating consumers down the funnel.

Be mindful of the nature of your advertising and/or targeted ads. For example, targeting an individual with the exact engagement ring they were looking at could fall on the eyes of their partner, and intended recipient, thus ruining the surprise. Consider using look-a-like products, or simple branded ads to re-engage targets. 

To learn more about the social/ecommerce landscape access the recording for our most recent event ‘Successful Strategies for a New Era of Ecommerce’ where we took a deep dive into the ecommerce landscape, identifying what global shoppers really want from online merchants, how brands can build a winning ecommerce strategy, and how to make the most of Incubeta’s extensive digital commerce offering

Watch Now

Online v Offline

Don’t limit your marketing outputs to just online, or offline efforts. With consumers shopping across both digital and physical channels it’s important to consider the relationship between the two, and opt for an omnichannel approach that allows consumers to choose the way they purchase. Businesses shouldn’t be working in silos when it comes to brick & mortar vs. online. The user journey has to become the focus point to, not only increase their experience, but to build an understanding of their needs, regardless of where or how they interact with your brand. While it’s easy to prioritize digital marketing and ecommerce, be mindful of the tactile nature of physical retail, and its role in the consumer journey. 

Get Your Timings Right

Make the most of the whole Valentine’s Day period. Despite being a one-day event, search interest and gift research has started earlier this year so consider running your marketing efforts to match this interest, gaining recognition and ensuring you’re front of mind when the peak of Valentine’s Day (7th February) hits. 

Think Outside The Box

Start by looking back at what worked and what didn’t work last year; using any learnings to inform this year’s Valentine’s Day strategy. In addition, keep an eye on search trends and the ‘Insights’ tab in Google ads to give you indication of the right time to launch or pause your campaigns. It’s been another tough year for many and Valentine’s Day comes as a great opportunity for people to show appreciation to those they love or miss the most. Be inventive and think outside the box this year, whether you’re designing the creative, writing the copy or setting up targets, get imaginative with your ideas – and instigate that ‘love at first sight’ feeling.

Sustainable Love

Across the industry, interest in the value and impact that products convey has skyrocketed, and brands are increasingly being selected based on their community impact and sustainability outputs. Conscious consumption is on the rise, especially around peak times such as Valentine’s Day, and brands need to consider their marketing efforts – are they selling ‘sustainable love’? While all businesses should have long term sustainability goals in place, consider methods by which you can cut your carbon footprint even more over festive periods. Such as eco-delivery, recycled packaging, or carbon offsetting your digital media spend on seasonal campaigns.

Check out how Incubeta offset the digital footprint for Ganni, FatFace and Lounge Underwear across all media we managed in 2021.  

For more information on how to succeed this Valentine’s Day, and to get external insights into your campaign performance, get in touch with the team today.

Read Next

Find out how we can help you

With offices around the world, we can build a team perfect for your needs.

Keep up to date with our monthly insight digest