Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, with campaigns in full swing across a wide range of brands and retailers. With Valentine’s Day 2020 being the last large ‘sales event’ before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and extensive lockdowns, we thought it would be interesting to take a step back and take stock of the early trends for 2021.
It has been well documented that lockdown has had a significant impact on how people shop. Footfall to stores has naturally dwindled and online traffic has increased. Taking a closer look at this trend on Similarweb, we can see a net increase in YoY visits after March 2020, averaging 27.4% (based on the top 100 websites in the E-commerce & Shopping category).
Source: Similarweb, top 100 websites in the E-commerce & Shopping category
With shopping shifting to online, how does this look at a sector level?
We’ve taken a look into the key shifts in sector contributions YoY from Webgains data from 1-10 Feb 2020 vs 2021. We have seen key uplifts in:
- Retail & Shopping – Up 26% YoY
- Home & Garden – Up 32% YoY
- Health & Beauty – Up 50% YoY
These figures have come at the detriment of the travel sector, which has been down considerably YoY. It’s worth noting that the travel sector has seen a cautious resurgence of late, with travel brands heavily pushing money-back guarantee messaging, easy cancellation, cleanliness standards, and safety precautions. With the limitations around travel and ongoing health concerns; volumes remain low and the romantic weekend break which has become synonymous with Valentine’s Day is off the cards.
Home & Garden
For Home & Garden, we saw significant increases here in the early days of the UK lockdown. The shift to working from home and the driving demand for home office supplies such as desks, chairs, etc. followed by home improvements and furniture – the things that we’ve managed to live with before the pandemic are now becoming far too apparent to ignore when sitting at home all day! We can see that this trend is now continuing for Valentine’s gifting, with mindsets shifting towards practicality rather than excess.
Health & Beauty
The Health & Beauty sector has always been a go-to for Valentine’s day gifts, and this has certainly not changed from looking at the numbers. The significant increase above the average traffic trend from Similarweb could be down to various factors such as, treatments no longer being an option and department store closures; therefore, driving an increase in DIY alternatives. The ongoing January health kick moving into February may also be a factor. Last-minute gifting staples such as perfume or toiletries are trickier to buy this year, which has led to earlier planning.
In addition to these sectors already showing strong performance, what else do we expect to do well?
Takeaway & Cook at home Meal Deals
One of the key areas impacted in the UK (other than the weekend break) will be hospitality, as restaurants and hotels are shut. Google Trends shows searches for Lockdown Valentines, Lockdown Valentines ideas, Valentines Meal Deal & Valentines Meal Delivery all as “Breakout”, meaning there has been a tremendous increase in search volumes. Both takeaway and prepared meals for two will be firm favourites this year, as shown by search volumes.
Gift Cards & Gifting
It may not seem like the most thoughtful or romantic option available, but it’s a step above petrol station flowers (right?). Gift Cards have become a popular trend with advertisers, with a few actively promoting Gift Card purchases via their affiliate programs, as a reaction to current shopping patterns. Gift cards and personalised gifting solutions such as GiftMagic (which allow for the virtual sending of a gift), will likely see far more focus moving forwards for both seasonal events and birthdays.
2020 was a year of unprecedented change, many businesses had to learn how to adapt and pivot to ensure they stayed abreast of their competitors and remain relevant. 2021 is no different, adapt and personalise your campaigns to fit with the changing attitudes and needs of your customers. Functionality over frivolity, gifts with sentimental value, and online togetherness are the route to your customer’s heart.
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