Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Data: Retailers were forced to work harder for sales this Valentine’s Day

Retailers witnessed a revenue increase in the run-up to Valentine’s Day this year, but they’re having to work harder than ever before to capture sales, according to Visualsoft data.

Across key sectors – including fashion, gifts, lingerie, and health, beauty & cosmetics – revenue was up versus Valentine’s 2023, but there was also a lower average order value, suggesting that retailers are having to attract sales from a larger number of consumers to produce results.

The gifts, gadgets, and gaming category saw revenues leap 76%, while fashion was up 33%, health, beauty & cosmetics by 20%, and lingerie & underwear by 10%. However, the go-to staple of jewellery saw revenues dip by 0.5%.

Although overall good news for retailers in terms of revenues, average order values were down significantly across all sectors. Lingerie & underwear shrunk 24%, fashion by 15%, gifts, gadgets & gaming by 14%, jewellery by 11%, and cosmetics by 2%.

“Overall, during a time of economic downturn and consumers shopping smaller, think about the “lipstick effect”, coined by Estée Lauder’s Leonard Lauder. Even in a cost-of-living crisis people will still treat themselves or others with small luxuries which helps to boost their mood. Because of this, customer loyalty and win back opportunities are more important than ever,” said Immy Ewbank, Senior Digital Strategist at Visualsoft.

“For brands, now is the time to get your loyalty scheme with “refer a friend” incentives set up, and gift guides polished. Smaller items, or “little luxuries” can be perfect items for thoughtful and cost-effective gifts, consider any upsell moments for smaller items to boost your average order value. And as we’re living in an immediate consumption cycle, next day delivery with a reputable courier can be a big confidence builder for shoppers while they’re deciding where to purchase.”

Interestingly, perhaps feeding into the growing belief that Valentine’s Day is too consumerist, there was a 164% increase in searches for ‘promise rings’ and a 23% growth in searches for ‘charms.’ And, for those that are that way inclined, searches for fishnets grew 350%, while ‘crotchless’ searches were up 16%.

The data also showed that mobile orders were high across fashion (73%), health, beauty & cosmetics (55%), and jewellery (74%). However, more consideration appeared to be shown around lingerie and underwear, where mobile orders only occurred 18% of the time.

“With shoppers on the go using small pockets of time to look for purchases, and seeking deals wherever they can, it seems people are shopping around more, not necessarily locked into a certain name or brand of item that they want. Strong advertising on social media and email marketing can drive mobile shoppers to a site and as long as it has a smooth and seamless checkout system, this can boost sales from impulse buying,” said Ash Wright, VP of Commercial at Visualsoft.

“Brand loyalty seems to be on a decline especially with younger audiences, and as such retailers are having to offer deeper discounts at the same time as communicating values and ethics in order to attract them – a tricky balance. Yet the fact that there are more transactions, of smaller amounts, suggests that for those willing to work for it, repeat shoppers are where growth is at.”