Virtual Valentine’s Day brings forward February online spending

As the UK’s national lockdown took Valentine’s Day fully digital, online spending was brought forward, peaking in the first week of February, as shoppers got ahead with romantic gift buying early, the latest data from Wunderkind’s Marketing Pulse, revealed.

With Covid-19 restrictions shutting hospitality venues and non-essential retail stores, Valentine’s Day 2021 was a fully digital affair, which saw shoppers buying early as website and email revenues peaked in the first week of February (w/c 01.02).

Website revenues:

w/c 01.02.21 w/c 08.02.21 w/c 15.02.21
+28% +20% +23%

Website revenues increased +28% week-on-week in the first week of February, as shoppers brought forward Valentine’s day gift buying.  Online conversion rates also improved during the same period, up +19% week-on-week during w/c 01.02, before dipping back down to +14% by mid-February (w/c 15.02).

Email performance was also bolstered, with revenues generated via this channel up 5% on the January average in the first week of January (w/c 01.02).

Sales of letterbox flowers saw an early surge in eCommerce orders – online florist, Bloom & Wild, sold over four times as many bouquets in early February compared to 2020, prompting its CEO, Aron Gelbrard, to say it had seen “strong demand with customers purchasing earlier than usual”.

Meanwhile, Shoreditch-based lingerie firm, Bluebella, said eCommerce sales made on the first two days of February outstripped last year’s performance by +119%.

And, with hospitality closed, demand for ‘meal kits’ and cocktail deliveries also surged, as consumers sought to recreate their favourite restaurant meals; research consultancy CGA’s data showed 70% planned to recreate the dining out experiences at home*.

Wulfric Light-Wilkinson, GM EMEA at Wunderkind, commented:

“Since the start of the pandemic, demand for eCommerce has been on the up and up.   And this trend shows no sign of abating in 2021, especially when you add in key retail trading events, like Valentine’s Day, into the mix.  We’re now seeing a sustained demand for digital, both from new cohorts of online shoppers and digital-natives, and this is accelerating emerging consumer demands when it comes to online buying experiences.

“This means the consumer is now becoming the disruptor, and their new expectations around what makes a good shopping experience are once again redefining retail.  Keeping up relies on retailers being able to better understand their shoppers, at an individual level, to create the highly targeted engagement strategies that keep consumers connected to the brand, and drive loyalty and brand advocacy.”

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