Valentine’s Day + Mobile: A Love Story

February 12, 2018 | Article written by Carly Morris

Franticly searching OpenTable while chowing down on heart-shaped treats? Must be Valentine’s Day.

This week brings a high-spend holiday that’s often overlooked as the major mobile opportunity that it is. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans will spend an average $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, up nearly $1.5 billion from 2017. These numbers are the second-highest we’ve had in the last 15 years, topped only by the record-breaking $19.7 billion seen in 2016.

The NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, “Americans are looking forward to pampering and indulging their loved ones with flowers, candy, dinner and all of the other Valentine’s Day stops. With the holidays behind them and the winter months dragging along, consumers are looking for something to celebrate this time of year.”


What People Are Buying:

19% of people celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2018 will give jewelry, driving the highest total output of any spending category at $4.7 billion. Next, 35% will gift an evening out, 36% will buy flowers, 17% will give clothing, 15% gift cards, and 55% plan for candy.




Who They’re Buying For:

This year, consumers plan to spend an average $89 on their significant others, $25 on other family members, $7 on children’s classmates/teachers, $7 on friends, $5 on pets, and $5 on co-workers.

Overall, men will spend more than women, and older millennials aged 25-34 will be the biggest spenders at an average of $202 each.


Where They’re Shopping:

In 2018, 35% of consumers plan to shop at department stores, 29% online, 19% at specialty stores, and 14% at local small businesses.

You’ll notice that online shopping takes up an impressive piece of the pie this year, and that growth has largely been driven by mobile.

In 2016, 48% of Valentine’s Day-related web searches came from mobile, up from 40% in 2015. Additionally, 30% of people planned to use mobile to research products or compare prices, and 36% intended to use a mobile app to buy chocolates and flowers or to make dinner reservations.


Why Valentine’s Day + Mobile is a Match Made in Heaven

Mobile users are on-the-go users, which makes them a great match for your marketing campaigns around Valentine’s Day. As a holiday that’s typically not planned until the last minute (sad but true), there’s a substantial amount of pressure on finding the perfect gift or experience right through the eleventh hour.

While seemingly inconvenient, this actually provides a great opportunity for brands on mobile. With an exceptionally long window to reach your audience, and timely shipping a key factor in purchase decisions, the right mobile strategy can have you in like Flynn.


What If My Audience is Primarily Single?

Remember that not everyone has a Valentine, and not everyone with a Valentine will celebrate in the traditional sense either. For the singletons in your audience, V-Day is often spent with friends, family, or practicing self-care.

In fact, the NRF found that 27% of people have plans to treat themselves or get together with platonic loved ones to celebrate. And, if we can learn one thing from the Singles’ Day phenomenon in China, it’s that people get excited to celebrate their singledom with exciting gifts and experiences for themselves.

Keep in mind that Valentine’s Day observers will also spend a combined total of more than $6.8 billion on the non-romantic relationships in their lives, including those with family, friends, co-workers, and pets, so be sure to open up your messaging and targeting to tap into this high-spending user segment.


Four Last-Minute Tips for Mobile:

1. Focus on Your Biggest Spenders
For this particular holiday, men spend more than women, older millennials outspend any other age group, and singles looking to treat themselves are becoming much more active shoppers. To increase your chances of engaging high spend-potential users, these three demographics are a safe bet.

2. Get in the Last-Minute Mindset
A full 30% of partnered people don’t make Valentine’s plans in advance of the 14th. With people still seeking the perfect gift or experience on the day before, and even the day of, stay persistent with your campaigns right through to the end.

3. Expand Your Targeting Plans
Remember that competition for retail advertising goes through the roof at this time of year, especially on search platforms. Try to map out new keywords that will be relevant but less competitive, and focus on maintaining a balance between romance and friendship/family.

4. Creative That Converts
Because it’s a last-minute holiday, it’s smart to gear your ad creative and messaging toward fast shipping or guaranteed delivery for the big day. You can also highlight new product sales, popular items, and self-care alternatives for the singletons.

With the right focus on inclusive ads, targeting, and messaging, you can create a Valentine’s Day strategy that your audience will love.

Wishing a very happy Valentine’s Day to all of our partners and friends!