High street stores set to win sales boost from Valentine’s Day, GfK research finds


Bricks and mortar retailers will enjoy a sales boost on Valentine’s Day with more than seven out of 10 of those planning to celebrate it claiming they will buy the majority of their purchases on the high street or at retail parks – compared to 18% buying online, according to research from GfK published today.

Individual spend on Valentine’s Day is likely to be the same as last year, with the majority (52%) expecting to spend £20 or less. A third (32%) expect to spend between £21 and £50, and 16% will spend a generous £50 or more. 

The three most popular ways to celebrate are sending cards (65%), followed by going out for a meal (26%), and cooking a special meal (25%). Twenty one per cent of people will be giving flowers, with 14% celebrating with chocolates and the same number buying a special meal to enjoy at home. Very few people plan to splash out on luxury items with jewellery (5%), Champagne (4%) and lingerie (3%) all scoring low in the research.

Say it with flowers
Almost three quarters (71%) of those planning to give flowers will buy them from a ‘bricks and mortar’ store, with far fewer choosing to buy online, researchers found. More than half (54%) will buy flowers themselves on the high street and deliver them by hand, with a further 17% choosing them in-store for delivery.

Will you be my Valentine?
Sending a card is the most common way of celebrating on 14 February 2013, but if you thought Valentine’s Day was just for partners and couples, think again. Although at 82% the partner/spouse will be the most popular recipient of the red envelope on Thursday, Valentine’s Day cards and gifts aren’t just for lovers:

•    5% will send a card or gift to their children

•    4% will send a card or gift to a friend

•    3% will send a card or gift to a parent

•    2% will send a card or gift to another relative

Cutting through the commercialism

Although some people believe Valentine’s Day is ‘just a commercial creation to make money’, many combat this by doing something special, such as making cards and gifts, and cooking at home. We also see the ways people are saving money – using vouchers, looking for bargains and a small number even buy flowers on 15 February 2013 when they are half price.

•    34% intend to cook a meal at home

•    7% will make a card 

•    6% will send a Valentine’s Day e-mail or text

•    6% will use vouchers or loyalty points to save money on a gift

•    5% will buy a present in the sales

•    5% will make a gift

•    2% will buy something from a charity shop

You can’t always get what you want

What people would like to receive on 14 February, and what they expect to receive, are markedly different, GfK found. For instance, 19% would like flowers but less than half – 9% – expect them. The same is true for chocolates – 14% would like to indulge themselves, only 7% expect to be able to. These figures rise for luxury items, with 6% hoping to celebrate with a bottle of fizz, and only 2% expecting to pop the cork; 9% wishing for jewellery and only 1% expecting it. In fact the sad truth from this research is that 51% expect to receive nothing at all on Valentine’s Day this year.

Pam Armstrong, managing director, consumer & retail at GfK, said: “At last, some positive news for the British high street: it looks set to receive a boost from consumer spending this Valentine’s Day. February 14th appears to be one of those occasions when we like to choose our gifts carefully – whether flowers, cards or gifts – and comes as a timely reminder that the high street has lots to offer shoppers.”