In this guest post, lecturer in marketing at UQ Business School, Dr Nicholas Pontes (image below), discusses how Australian businesses are capitalising on a ‘fickle’ event, and why many Australians are planning to boycott the day in 2019.
Valentine’s Day is an important date for the Australian economy in a quiet time post-Christmas, with a spend of $1.09 billion anticipated to be dropped on gifts and experiences of every kind.
Valentine’s Day is the most important day of the year for a number of industries, including florists and confectioners – consumers will spend around $123 million on flowers and it’s the third busiest day of the year for the chocolate industry, after Easter and Christmas.
Valentine’s Day has also become the most popular non-holiday non-weekend day of the year on which Australians get married.
For businesses, small and large, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest opportunities to capitalise on consumer emotions, with huge financial benefit on the table.
Consumers will spend high on getting ready for the occasion with projected sales for clothing and lingerie to reach the $90 million mark.
But nothing communicates love more than diamonds.
Australians are expected to be spent $53.6 million dollars on jewellery and accessories with men spending on average $386 dollars on their loved ones while women will spend around $267 dollars on this category, much higher than the $90 projected expenditure per person for this date.
Why do consumers buy into Valentine’s Day?
From a behavioural perspective, spending more resources (via more expensive gifts, unique experiences and devoted time) towards their loved ones is a signal of long-term commitment, which in turn reinforces their relationship maintenance goal.
Because resources are scarce, the more one spends on their loved ones, the less they will have to spend on attractive alternatives.
This provides their partners with some sense of security that their relationship is long-lasting.
Smartphone optimisation, and SEO are key
This year, retailers will take advantage of increased demand and consumers’ desire for convenience.
Google Insights reports show that on the day prior to Valentine’s Day, gift searches on mobile surpasses those made via a desktop, with 36.9 per cent of consumers using a smartphone and 44.7 per cent using a tablet to help them make purchase decisions and compare prices.
Taking advantage of keyword packs to maximise coverage and utilising Google’s Call, Promotion, and Location extensions to drive relevant traffic, is an important strategy to capture demand for key categories in the days leading up to and on Valentine’s Day.
Marketers will take advantage of last-minute and deal-hungry shoppers, directing searchers to targeted landing pages featuring the best Valentine’s Day offers.
Value adding and personalisation target the last minute and impulse shopper
Australian businesses are also capitalising on demand by offering last minute delivery and personalisation.
Freshflowers.com.au, for example, guarantees consumers same day Valentine’s Day flower and gift delivery, while EdibleBlooms.com.au allows customers to use AfterPay providing flexibility on payment options.
Giving consumers the option to buy online and pick-up in store also enhances convenience and increases the window that businesses have to sell their product or service.
Targeting last minute and impulsive shoppers, retailers often offer additional products like a love card, special gift wrapping, and/or bundle product specials that can increase customers overall purchase basket by 30 per cent and more.
Even the Valentine’s Day boycotters are contributing to the industry
Despite its importance to Australian retailers, some data suggests that around 60 per cent of Australians will boycott Valentine’s Day altogether.
For some, Valentine’s Day is a time to be reminded of loneliness or a time of self-reflection and evaluation, and as a result, many consumers enact distinct rituals (e.g., girls’ night out, self-gifts) for their single situations.
Evidence suggests that many of these people will use the date to catch-up with friends (15 per cent), buying themselves a present (11 per cent), and dine out (4 per cent).
Spend on others, spend on yourself. Either way, retailers should celebrate the surge of customer spending surrounding Valentine’s Day.