Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Valentines & Galentines: Is your brand ready to be loved-up?

From the Insights team at ROAST

The celebration of Valentine’s Day has evolved from being only for couples to being a more inclusive form of love celebrations – one of family, friends, and also oneself. The concept of ‘Galentine’s’ on February 13th is a great depiction of this evolution; It started gaining traction in early 2010 and it is a day to celebrate friendship of all forms. Brands picked up on the change and started altering their Valentine’s campaign messages to be more inclusive, from Niluu’s ‘fall in love with you’ campaign on self-love to Yowie’s ‘Love is Family’ campaign focussed on family love. 

Before Covid, most people would book fancy dinners and activities for Valentine’s with their loved ones. Last year, as restaurants were closed and activities were limited due to lockdowns, Valentine’s, as well as many other celebratory occasions, were spent at home or virtually. Online shopping became a norm and gift purchasing was commonly done online. 

This leaves us wondering, what will Valentine’s look like this year? How will it vary across different generations? And, most importantly, how can brands successfully launch their Valentine’s campaign?

How early will people start thinking about valentine’s plans and gifts?

Search patterns show that before Covid, Valentine’s planning often started about one month prior. However, due to lockdown boredom and experienced late deliveries during the pandemic last year, people started thinking of gift ideas much earlier. This year, we see the behavioural patterns closely resembling pre-pandemic; Searches for Valentine’s gift ideas only started around mid-January and search volume is much lower than this time last year. This is an indication that people may be making more last-minute plans this year than last year. 

Source: Google Trends Report, 2019-2021. Breakout Searches.

Another notable insight from search tells us that gift-buying for men started closer to Valentine’s than gift-buying for women. Searches for ‘gifts for him’ scored the top three places for the most trending searches in the valentine’s category in early February, while searches for ‘gifts for her’ peaked up since mid-January. 

How do Valentine’s Day plans vary by generation?

Source: Global Web Index, Zeitgeist December 2021, UK.

When it comes to ideal Valentine’s celebrations, Gen Z would favour spending the day outside, going to the cinema, restaurants or shopping. Millennials and Gen X share many similarities in celebration ideas; for starters, they seem to prefer spending this romantic occasion at the comfort of their own homes, with more than 38% saying they’d prefer to cook at home or order takeaway. Conversely, they are also the most likely groups to go on holiday  for Valentine’s.

Many of us are on the hunt for a life full of romance, but when it comes to gift-giving, the spark certainly seems to go as couples get older. Almost half of Baby Boomers say that they don’t celebrate Valentine’s, and among those who do, 25% of them would go to a restaurant. It’s also fair to say that they’re the group that never fully bought into the idea of Valentine’s Day; after all, it only started becoming commercialised in the early 80s

What does gift-buying look like for Valentine’s this year?

Source: Global Web Index, Zeitgeist December 2021, UK.

What is known to be true is that shopping for gifts online will continue to dominate this year. 33% of Gen Z intends to buy gifts through online retail websites like Amazon, and 18% through social media commerce platforms. Millennials are most likely to buy gifts via a mix of different platforms, mainly online retail websites and department stores. While both Gen Z and Millennials have their hearts set on gift-giving, Gen X and Baby Boomers are less enthusiastic about the prospect. The majority of them don’t plan on buying gifts, and for those who do, they would prefer buying on offline channels like local stores or shopping centres.

Quick tips for campaigns this Valentine’s:

  • Valentine’s is not just for lovers – Think outside the box and test creatives. Make your campaign stand out by getting creative with formats and colours, targeting different audience groups, and leveraging emerging technologies. Maybe your product is more appropriate for ‘galentines’ than Valentine’s? Perhaps your audience would engage with Valentine’s-themed Snapchat filters? The possibility is endless!
  • Most Valentine’s shopping happens last minute – Ensure delivery times are highlighted in ad creativeS and stock levels are up-to-date, if you are selling through Amazon, then being available through Prime will increase conversion rates.
  • Valentine’s Day is about more than just gifts –  Events, restaurants and even recipes will be in high-demand. How does your brand or product fit in, if at all? 
  • Valentine’s Day means different things to different people – How do your audience feel about Valentine’s Day, and what will they do to celebrate? Commissioning some Insights work will help you guide your strategy for next year.


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