The holiday marketing calendar seems to function on autopilot. After the last bit of discounted Christmas decorations are cleared from the shelves, Valentine’s Day candy and stuffed animals quickly furbish the “seasonal” aisle. Pink and red advertisements grace the windows of retail stores and pop-up Valentine’s’ Day ads for flower orders appear on our digital search screens. The turnover between the holidays is automatic and consumers are acclimated to this method. Retail industry professionals know that Valentine’s day is generally a high profiting holiday and the marketing effort behind it follows a pre-fixe methodology. Valentine’s Day sales reached a record high in 2016, but that number is expected to decrease in 2017. Retailers will need to explore new opportunities to maintain Valentine’s Day sales momentum through market research.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) consumer spending for Valentine’s Day 2017 is expected to reach $18.2 billion this year, which is down from last year’s $19.7 billion record high. The decrease in consumer spending is congruent with the decrease in people who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, which has dropped from 63% in 2008 to 54% for this year. With roughly 50% of Americans considering themselves as single, retailers will have to market towards a wider audience and repackage the holiday marketing plans that move away from the cliches.
Valentine’s Day is often marketed towards couples, but consumers are also celebrating Valentine’s Day with family and friends. According to Entrepreneur, 20% of people who searched the term “Valentine’s Day Gifts For…” followed the phrase with “friends.” Also, NRF data shows that the average person is spending about $26 dollars on gifts for family members. This shows that Valentine’s Day is not just a holiday for spouse and significant others. Retailers could benefit from collecting consumer insights from their customers in order to create more effective marketing campaigns that reach a broader audience. For example, a cosmetics retailer could conduct a study to find out what are their customers’ Valentine’s day plans, how they celebrate the holiday, and their relationship status. This will help the retailer identify if they should conduct a “date night” theme campaign or one for “Valentine’s Day beauty treatments with friends.” Instead of marketing products for the holiday through traditional modules, a more inclusive approach could gain access to a broader audience and increase sales. The “one size fits all” module needs a more creative approach to attract a broader audience.
Ultimately, marketers have grown far too comfortable with traditional Valentine’s day campaigns. In order to boost the reception of their holiday campaigns and see an upward sale trend, it is imperative to conduct market research. Research studies that gather consumer insights about how people are spending their Valentine’s Day and their shopping spending habits provide key information. This data will help marketers develop a campaign that is relevant for today’s consumer and expand their customer base. Subsequently, retailers will see more sales during the holiday season.
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