The winter season is ripe with opportunities for retailers as shopping online goes hand in hand with many celebrations, starting with Black Friday, through Christmas, to Valentine’s Day. After the excess of Christmas, many consumers take January as an opportunity to financially recuperate which results in low conversion numbers.
We all know that Valentine’s Day brings a spike in online shopping, as many people take to showing their affection by gifting their loved ones. At Webgains, we looked at data three weeks before V’Day where we registered a spike of 40% in sales between 2015 and 2017. We have also observed over 32% increase in order value from 2015 to 2017, which means clients are spending more money on gifts for their loved ones in the run-up to Valentine’s day.
Sometimes no news is good news – especially for the winners
Although trends in gift giving have significantly changed over the last decade, there is a steady, and unsurprising, rise in three verticals: beauty, accessories and travel.
According to AdRoll EMEA’s data , the beauty sector experiences a 78% increase in sales during the week leading to up the Valentine’s Day. The click-through rate within the industry is 80% higher throughout the week of V’Day, with four times the conversion rate to previous weeks.
Other verticals benefit too, especially the specialised retailers, such as adult accessories or lingerie, observing a 55% increase in sales. Additionally, the average basket value jumps by 20% between 2016 and 2017 as shoppers aim to treat their special someone, or themselves.
Unsurprisingly, our own data  confirms these trends. An astounding 85% increase in Fashion sales between 2015 and 2017, with Beauty in close pursuit with 45%. However, in the run-up to V’Day in 2017, the best performing sector at Webgains was Electronics and Tech, with a 50% increase in sales between 2016 and 2017 and an impressing increase of 175% between 2015 and 2017.
Here are the top five most sold products in the UK during the 2017 Valentine’s period:
3. Heating Oil – keeping your loved ones warm throughout the winter is truly a gift from the bottom of the heart
4. USB memory bank – somewhere to store thousands of photos of your other half
5. Lingerie and adult toys
In comparison, in the USA the most bought item was a fashion accessory – a round beach throw. Both in Germany and Spain apparel products topped the list, while in France the top sold item was jewellery.
This data corresponds directly to the level of gift searches in the run-up period, with 49% being ‘gifts for Her’ and only 25% for Him. Interestingly, 2% users look for ‘long-term relationship style gifts’ – some heating oil, anyone?
Make the most of 2018
Our publisher team has put together a list of tips which will help you make the most of this year’s Valentine’s Day shopping spree.
1. Start with an audit.
To make sure you’re promoting as many relevant clients for the period as possible, review your current programmes and adjust where necessary. Check that your links are working correctly and that you have the most up to date offers live.
Use our Offers section of the Dashboard to hunt down the best Valentine’s Day deals.
2. Get your timing right!
The weeks before Valentine’s Day are best for offers those planning ahead are exploring the options; but you also expect traction with last-minute purchases, especially with clients that offer next day or same day delivery – like Virgin Experience Days!
Last year at Webgains the sweet spot for traffic growth was on the 8th and 9th February, giving consumers the best chance of a deal and plenty of time for shipping.
3. Invest in experience.
The experience industry is expecting a significant update this year – try and form content that will help inspire such purchases. Letting your consumers know the offers that are available is one thing, but you are more likely to reach a conversion if you suggest an “out of the box” idea that is going to give your user the edge when it comes to impressing their other half.
4. Keep the momentum going.
Although traffic starts to peak during the week prior as you may expect, but you may not be aware that Valentine’s specific search terms are still very popular right up to the holiday itself and a high volume can still be seen AFTER the day itself (from those who probably forgot).
5. Know your clients and audience.
This goes without saying, regardless of the holiday. Make sure you select brands that sell products at a price point and within a category that is most relevant. If your site can offer personalisation, then even better!
If you have seasonal specific opportunities for advertisers to the book, such as seasonal category sponsorship or themed newsletters, be clear with outlining the exposure on offer, including what the brand can expect, placement details, deadlines for involvement and costs. You can always share this with Webgains, and we can help to promote such features.
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 Data collected by Webgains, February 2017