Our insights and newly commissioned research* paint a picture of the modern Valentine’s shopper. What’s clear from the start is that it’s the men who are expecting to spend the most to make their sweethearts swoon.
On average, men are expected to fork out £28.19 on Valentine’s Day celebrations – almost a tenner more than women, whose spending expectations average £18.96.
For both sexes though, almost a third of those planning to spend money on Valentine’s Day celebrations expect to spend up to the contactless payment limit of £30. That’s an important point. It’s well known that contactless technology adds speed and convenience at retail, but making your retail POS efficient is even more important when making high volumes of sales in a short period of time.
“You only have to see a few people leave their shopping and walk away from queues to realise,” says Jo Simpson, Barclaycard’s Strategic New Business Manager. “It doesn’t take too many customers walking away from a queue to have a big affect on profit.”
Show customers some digital loveOnline spending is expected to be a key part of the Valentine’s experience with almost a quarter of people planning to use the internet to buy.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, that number is even higher for younger consumers. Among 18-24 year olds, 36% of them expect to buy gifts online this year.
These figures suggest how important it is to offer your customers a choice of ways to shop, including secure ecommerce site solutions.
“Retailers need to have a joined up experience that is slick,” says Jo. “And there are still vast numbers of merchants that don’t have mobile versions of their web pages – I personally tend to move off them if this is the case.”
Make sure you get a piece of the actionFor retailers wishing to do well out of Valentine’s Day, it’s worth timing any offers or promotions carefully.
For instance, would you think of the over 55s as the most impulsive Valentine’s spenders? You should. Almost half ( 49% ) leave it until under a week before the day to plan their spending.
In contrast, the youngest consumers are the most prepared with 32% of 18-24s planning their spending two to four weeks in advance. A further 8% of them really put the effort in, planning their spending more than four weeks ahead.
“Maximising sales during key sales periods is vital in helping cash flow,” says Maria Shaw, Barclaycard’s Head of Acquisition, Small Business Segment, Global Payment Acceptance. “Creating additional cash flow will allow you to invest in and grow your business which will help you ride through any quieter spells.”
When it comes to consumers actually splashing the Valentine’s Day cash, it’s the week before that is the key period to focus on. 35% of people plan to spend most of their money then, with 16% expecting to spend the most on the day itself.
There’s not much of a spending tail either. While anecdotally many people express a dislike of going out on Valentine’s Day itself, our research shows that only 3% plan to spend the most Valentine’s cash in the week after the big day.
And what would you think if your beloved made use of a discount or special offer? It could happen, and for retailers it’s worth understanding their own consumers’ attitudes and targeting any offers or promotions accordingly.
Our consumer research shows that 8% of shoppers would be discouraged if a discount was attached, but 38% would welcome it. Who says romance is dead?
* All figures are taken from Barclaycard spend data and commissioned consumer research in January 2016.