Valentine’s Day: in-store purchases, restaurant outings rebound; inflation worries

Consumers are reverting to some pre-pandemic behaviors when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day this year.

Dining out is showing a strong rebound, with 36% of consumers planning to go out for a meal or drink on Valentine’s Day, up from 17% in 2021, and rising to the 45% of consumers who planned to dine out in February 2020, according to a Numerator survey.

Forty-eight percent of consumers plan to shop online for Valentine’s Day, up from 53% of consumers in 2021. The percentage of consumers planning to shop across multiple in-store channels has increased from levels of 2021, led by dollar stores (up 10 points), warehouse clubs (up seven points) and groceries (up four points).

Nearly three-quarters of consumers say inflation will affect their Valentine’s Day spending. Half of respondents expect the price hike to have a slight impact on their Valentine’s Day shopping, and 24% expect a significant impact. To combat rising prices, 43% of consumers plan to seek out deals and coupons, 32% plan to shop at different retailers, and 24% say they will shop in smaller quantities this year.

The survey found that 52% of Valentine’s Day celebrants plan to buy gifts, for themselves or others, up four points from Valentine’s Day 2021. However, the purchase of gifts remains well below pre-pandemic norms, down 16 points from February 2020. .

Other survey results are presented below.

• Traditional Valentine’s Day gifts show multi-year declines among consumers. Electronics, accessories and jewelry posted the largest declines in gifts for the second year in a row, while alcohol and food gifts gained popularity.

• Flowers continue to decline as a favorite Valentine’s Day gift. In 2022, 28% of consumers said they planned to buy flowers for Valentine’s Day, compared to 31% in 2021 and 46% in 2020.

• Pandemic behaviors such as cooking at home and ordering delivery persist. Cooking at home and ordering takeout were the only two celebration plans to gain popularity during the pandemic, increasing more than 10 points from 2020 to 2021. In 2022, both showed only slight declines , indicating that these behaviors could last.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2022, 62% of consumers plan to buy sweets, followed by cards (59%), food (52%), flowers (28%), alcoholic beverages (23%) , clothing (15%), spa. products (11%) and jewelry (10%).

• Gen Z, Millennials and Gen Xers are much more likely than Baby Boomers to shop online for Valentine’s Day. More than half of young consumers plan to shop online, compared to 36% of consumers aged 55-64 and 29% of consumers aged 65+.

• Gen Z and younger millennial consumers are changing the categories of Valentine’s Day gifts. This group is 49% more likely than older generations to purchase experiential gifts (e.g. concert tickets, travel), 29% more likely to purchase alcohol, 23% more likely to purchase clothes and 15% more likely to buy spa products.

On the other hand, younger generations are 17% less likely than older generations to buy Valentine’s Day cards.

Millennials are much more likely than other generations to spend more than $200 on Valentine’s Day, while Gen Xers are more likely to spend between $51 and $200. Gen Z consumers are the group most likely to say they will increase their purchases of candy this year’s Valentine’s Day, with 32% planning to buy more candy than Valentine’s Day 2021 and 13% planning to buy many more.

The Numerator Valentine’s Day 2022 survey was conducted between 01/12/2022 and 01/18/2022 among 1,175 consumers planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2022.

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