Love To Love: The Business Of Valentines Day

It’s that time of year again. The ebb and flow of retail reliably takes us from Christmas, through to clearance sales and to the next full price moment in the trading calendar, February 14.

But what is ‘This Thing Called Love’ ? A simple four letter word that is firmly embedded in the zeitgeist.

A quick search acknowledges that it is one of the most popular words in song titles. It ‘Lifts Us Up Where We Belong’, ‘It Is a Many Splendored Thing’, and according to Beyonce… we are crazy when in it. The Beatles used the word a staggering 613 times in their lyrics.

Yet when a word refer to so many things, from the consumer loving their McDonalds value meal to the wealth of emotion tied into the way we feel about ourselves and others, it can be a difficult to pin down exactly what it means.

Unlike English, the Greek language, rather helpfully distinguishes four kinds of love. I’ve simplified for the purposes of explanation:

In fact there was a whopping £1.37 billion projected spend this time last year (according to Finder). Seemingly 25 million consumers send cards with 76% of people celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2021. And when it comes to self-appreciation , 25% took the opportunity to treat oneself.

Early off the starting block for this year’s 2023 Valentines gift list include the pink personalised Toblerone: a white chocolate flavoured, pink coloured bar with raspberries and strawberries and personalised packaging available.

We also have the LEGO floral heart:a 254 piece floral hanging ornament that might just be a good excuse for enthusiasts to buy and build before gifting it.

A traditional yet ever popular gift is the token of flowers. The Jane Austen Society attributes the start of this practice to the 17th century. According to research, 41% of women in the UK expect to receive a bouquet on Valentines Day (statista).

UK shoppers have a wealth of choice on offer from budget value to the upper echelons of luxury, when it comes to floral gifting.

Poundland, the value retailer, has just launched an artificial bouquet that lasts ‘eternally’ and for £5 ($6.17) allows the potential to regift should it be needed.

While one of London’s leading florists, Blooming Haus, has developed a unique limited-edition creation: The 24K Gold Bouquet.

Each bouquet will contain 200 long-stemmed Heart roses selected at the peak of freshness before being artfully hand-gilded (300 hours of labour) by the in-house floristry experts in 24k gold leaf.

The product was created in response to the premium shopper’s desire for‘something bigger, bolder and different’. The bouquet is possibly the most expensive on offer this February with a £40,000 ($49,215) price tag. An option for those without a near $50,000 in the bank is the Blooming Haus single gilded rose for £250 ($307).

15,000 people choose Valentines Day as their proposal date (according to Wedding Ideas Magazine) which means that jewellery and the all important engagement ring is always big business for February.

One disrupter brand in this sector is 7879, launched by Secret Sales co-founder Sach Kukadia and business partner Ben Flower , who recently secured £5.5m venture capital funding. The founders’ ambition is to disrupt the way in which consumers buy jewellery.

Prices quoted by 7879 are driven by weight and real-time international bullion markets. Customers are invited to watch as prices change before their eyes in line with the value of gold, enabling them to track their jewellery's daily value using a personalised portfolio. It also provides a guaranteed sell-back option for its customers in response to the prevailing price of platinum or gold.

Not to sound like an unromantic realist, but perhaps that makes for quite the selling point when you consider that 37% of relationships break-ups happen in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. The process has earned the term “Valentighting” by Metro writer Ellen Scott: the act of tightening one’s belt before the love-spree begins

Back to John Lennon and Paul McCartney who told us that ‘Money Can’t Buy You Love’ . Well that may be, but it still feels that retail can sell plentiful flowers, jewellery and gifts to perhaps help pave the way to it.

With just shy of two weeks to go the Valentine’s Day we will await and see who the big retail winners from this years ‘festival of love’ really are.