Love Isn't Free: 3 Ways Businesses Can Navigate the New Valentine’s Day Reality / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Today, Valentine's Day represents more than just romance. See how businesses can help share the spirit and take advantage of love.

Back in the day, Valentine’s Day proved the ultimate holiday for sweethearts.

Couples experienced cozy, romantic dinners amidst flickering candles and sparkling champagne, and gifts abounded – from imported chocolates to long-stemmed red roses to glittering jewelry.

But according to surprising research findings from Influence Central, our study of more than 600 women consumers revealed that they now have an entirely different view of Valentine’s Day – and it’s one that can upend how businesses approach the holiday.

Today, women say that the essence of Valentine’s Day has transitioned. They now focus more on recognizing a broader group of loved ones instead of just romantic partners, include other people they love in Valentine’s Day gifting, and make sure to incorporate social media greetings into the holiday.

This morphing of Valentine’s Day – from a celebration of romance to an opportunity to recognize and cherish kids, family, and friends – results in a significant impact on the businesses that have long helped consumers celebrate Valentine’s Day.

We’ve included our research findings below, along with key tips for businesses looking to navigate this new Valentine’s Day reality:

Who Do We Love? Sharing Valentine’s Day with Family & Friends

  • 89 percent of women celebrate Valentine’s Day.
  • 91 percent celebrate with a spouse or partner.
  • 79 percent celebrate with their kids.
  • 12 percent celebrate with friends; another 12 percent celebrate the holiday with parents.

What’s Our Celebration Style?

  • 54 percent of women celebrate by gifting.
  • 49 percent celebrate dining at home with family.
  • 29 percent enjoy a romantic dinner out.
  • 21 percent mark the holiday with a family celebration; another 21 percent with a romantic dinner in.

Changing the Way We Celebrate Valentine’s Day

  • 68 percent believe the holiday is an opportunity to recognize those family and friends you cherish.
  • For 48 percent of women consumers, Valentine’s Day represents romance.
  • 28 percent see the holiday as the time to celebrate with family.
  • 38 percent of women consumers say their view of Valentine’s Day has changed from how they celebrated the holiday 5 years ago; 32 percent say it has not.

Beyond Flowers & Chocolate: Upending of Valentine’s Day Spends

  • 79 percent of women consumers anticipate spending $100 or less on the holiday.
  • 18 percent will spend upwards of $500 for Valentine’s Day.
  • 75 percent of women cite meals as their family’s primary Valentine’s Day expenditure.
  • 56 percent say their family’s biggest expenditure will be gifts for kids.
  • Food-oriented gifts represent 24 percent of a family’s Valentine’s Day expenditures.
  • What’s not at the top of the list? Flowers account for only 23 percent of expenditures and jewelry just 5 percent. 

Kids Rise to the Top: New Trends in Valentine’s Day Gift-Giving

  • 46 percent of women say their children expect a Valentine’s Day gift.
  • 40 percent say their children expect a card.
  • 69 percent of women consumers anticipate buying a gift for their kids; 50 percent expect to buy a card.
  • 46 percent of women say they will buy a card for family members; 40 percent will buy a gift
  • Most women typically will focus on family members for Valentine’s Day gifts – with 77 percent saying they do not expect to buy anything for friends; 91 percent do not expect to get anything for colleagues.

Dining In vs. Dining Out: How We Now Celebrate Valentine’s Day Dinner

Valentine’s Day dinner remains a big deal – only 3 percent of women say they don’t have it. But where they have it has changed:

  • 62 percent of women say they will have Valentine’s Day dinner at home.
  • Just 35 percent will have dinner in a restaurant.

Sharing the Love: Valentine’s Day & Social Media

64 percent of women say they post Valentine’s Day messages or images to social media.

  • 98 percent will post on Facebook.
  • 69 percent on Twitter.
  • 60 percent on Instagram.
  • 47 percent on personal blogs.
  • 46 percent on Pinterest.

While the change-up of traditional Valentine’s Day celebrations can be surprising, it also presents a significant opportunity for businesses – both large and small – to expand and redefine their Valentine’s Day offerings:

Expand Holiday Offerings to Include More Than Romantic Gifts

Only 48 percent of women feel that Valentine’s Day represents romance, and just 29 percent of women expect to enjoy a romantic dinner out. In fact today, 68 percent of women now think of Valentine’s Day as a moment to recognize cherished family and friends.

As a result, instead of focusing solely on the “romantic” component of Valentine’s Day, businesses can expand their product offerings to include a broader array of holiday gift items – including ones suitable for family and friends – rather than zeroing in on traditional romantic-oriented options.

Keep Kids Top of Mind with Valentine's Day Gifting

Nearly 80 percent of women plan to spend Valentine’s Day with their kids – confirming it’s no longer simply a couples-focused holiday. Long the recipient of Valentine’s Day gifting, 69 percent of women now say that they buy holiday gifts for their kids – and 46 percent say their kids expect it.

Business owners can appeal to parents – and kids – and make sure their Valentine’s Day offerings include plenty of options for kid-focused gifts and treats.

Putting a New Spin on Valentine's Day Dinner at Home

While just 3 percent of women will not have a Valentine’s Day dinner, where it takes place has changed dramatically. More than 60 percent will have it at home, and just 35 percent of women will have Valentine’s Day dinner in a restaurant.

This Valentine’s Day transformation represents a boon to grocers and purveyors of prepared foods – while families may want dinner at home, they’ll undoubtedly gravitate toward low-key, no-fuss celebratory dinners that don’t involve hours in the kitchen.

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