Online retailers feel the love: Valentine’s Day prompts revenue and engagement boost

UK ecommerce retailers saw a Valentine’s Day boost to online revenues, traffic and customer engagement ahead of 14 February, latest data from Wunderkind, the leading customer engagement platform, reveals.

Feeling the love

Demand for romantic gifts and gestures grew year-on-year, with UK shoppers tipped to have spent £1.37 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2022, up from a reported £926 million spent on 14 February last year.

Wunderkind’s data showed web traffic to retailers’ websites ahead of Valentine’s Day tracked +33% above 2021 and +39% above pre-pandemic levels*, with the biggest spike in web browsing taking place on 13 February (the day before Valentine’s Day), when web visits rose +10% on the daily average for the month.

Valentine’s shoppers’ ‘ying and yang’ approach to gift buying

Meanwhile, online revenues remained +0.2% year-on-year for the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day (1st Feb – 14 Feb), with shoppers adopting a ‘yin and yang’ approach to romantic gift shopping, either choosing to buy early in February, or making the most of last-minute gift purchases.

The most significant online sales spike took place on 2 February, when digital revenues rose +99% on the daily average for the month, followed by a last-minute dash on 13 February, when digital revenues rose 72% compared to the daily average.

Jon Halley, Regional Vice President, EMEA at Wunderkind , commented:

“The sustained level of accelerated online demand we’ve seen around Valentine’s Day this year is testament to the central role digital now plays in consumers’ buying journeys. This is especially evident when you consider the uplift in both traffic and revenues this year compared to 2021, when Valentine’s Day was a virtual-only affair due to stores being closed during lockdown. This uptick in digital demand underlines the permanent shift to digital-first buying behaviours we’ve witnessed.”

New opportunities for additional revenue streams and engagement

The Valentine’s Day gifting category has also evolved and expanded. Alongside traditional, high performing Valentine’s Day staples — perfume retailer Perfume Direct, for example, said sales of its fragrances were up 50% — shoppers also splashed out on alternative gifting.  The Guardian reported a rise in the ‘anti-Valentine’s movement’ where shoppers opted for non-mainstream gifts.

Bloom & Wild put sustainability at the heart of its campaign by refusing to sell red roses to cut down on freight miles and waste, while online card seller, Moonpig, reported a 30% year-on-year rise in sale of Valentine’s cards for pets.

This evolution of alternative Valentine’s Day gifting is not only helping retailers drive additional revenue streams, but is opening up new engagement opportunities, with email opens and clicks improving significantly year-on-year.

Wunderkind’s data showed total email opens ahead of Valentine’s Day (01 – 13 February 2022) increased x2.3 fold on the same period in 2021, while email engagement was also up. Total email clicks ahead of Valentine’s Day in 2022 grew +55% year-on-year, and were up +204% on pre-pandemic levels for the same period.

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