Valentine’s Day Data: Sweet Statistics for That Special Someone
I don’t know about you, but 2024 has been busy as all heck. When marketing knocked on my inbox in mid-January to remind me to get myself in gear for the next RIViR Reads, I checked the calendar and thought, “I have plenty of time. Let me prep this demo.” When, my long-suffering colleagues in marketing messaged me on the 22nd, I told them I’d get an article to them by the weekend and turned my mind back to algorithms. So here I am, writing the next RIViR Reads using my procrastination as an inspiration because I always wait till the last minute to shop for the special someone in my life. In a RIViR Reads first, we examine Valentine’s Day, and hopefully order a gift in time for Amazon Prime to deliver it.
The Feast of Saint Valentine Had Nothing to Do with Love
If you think Valentine’s Day is just another made up holiday to drive sales, you’re wrong. Lupercalia, a pagan rite connected to purification and health was held between February 13th and 15th in Ancient Rome. Lupercalia was celebrated on behalf of Pan and Juno, the pagan gods of love, marriage, and fertility. Despite the affiliation, Lupercalia had no connection to love. Later, in the 8th century, The Feast of Saint Valentine celebrated a Christian martyr known as Valentine around the same time of year. It would be another 700 years until Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem about Valentine’s Day and a conflation of pagan rites and a Christian martyr would set the stage for surges in sales of balloons and chocolate.
Technology (and Chocolate) Commercializes Valentine’s Day
In the 1700s, Valentine’s Day began to commercially take off. The first Valentine’s Day cards were mechanically printed on newfangled devices called printing presses. In some cases, these cards were engraved and colored by hand. The first valentines contained a few lines of simple verse emblazoned with hearts, flowers, and birds.
In the 1860s, Richard Cadbury, of Cadbury chocolate fame, came up with the brilliant idea of selling his company’s chocolates in a heart shaped box for Valentine’s Day. The idea took off and saved his troubled chocolate business.
There’s More to Valentine’s Day Than a Box of Chocolates
Valentine’s Day has ascended beyond a mechanical card and heart-shaped box of confections. In the U.S., consumers have been marketed to with red chocolate boxes and shades of pink balloons since December 26th. According to Drive Research, 52% of Americans will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2024. 35% of consumers will shop online for gifts. 3 out of 10 of those celebrating will go into credit card debt doing it! Valentine’s Day spending is projected to average $192 which is up from 2022’s $175. Older millennials are planning to spend $335, the highest total of any age group.
Only 21% of consumers will buy jewelry this year. Most consumers spend their money on the compounding cost of buying candy (57%), cards (40%), and flowers (37%). With all that spending, 46% of consumers admit to receiving a Valentine’s Day gift they didn’t like. They really wanted a card, candy, and flowers. In obvious news, men are the biggest spenders for Valentine’s Day, plunking down $235 to make up for infractions they already committed in the New Year, while women will spend around $199.
New Couples Spend the Most
Newly minted couples (one or two years) spend the most on Valentine’s Day, around $247. Brand new situationships (less than a year) will spend about $186, and veterans (10 years or more) a little more at $189. Speaking of veterans, only 31% of couples go out ON Amateur Night, also known as Valentine’s Day evening, spending about $121 on a meal.
Valentine’s Day may seem like just another holiday designed to separate you from your hard-earned cash, but love is in the air. Polls across many sources say between 52 and 56 percent of Americans believe in true love. An estimated 6 million people will be engaged this Valentine’s Day and millions of Facebook users will flip their status to In a Relationship. One thing’s for certain – whether you’re dating, in a situationship, or a relationship veteran, make sure you get something before the shelves are empty. And if you do find yourself scrambling for a gift, might I suggest a romantic demo of RIViR?
Sources: Drive Research, TIME Magazine, Wikipedia, CandyFavorites.com, Bumble, Pew Research