How Valentine’s Day Impacts Consumer Behavior

Pattern Data Science

February 3, 2022

Two years ago, Valentine’s Day marked the last major American Holiday before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the way we celebrate the biggest days of the year. Mere weeks after millions of Americans were out enjoying their usual romantic dinner of February 14th, restaurants around the country were shutting down and Americans were sheltering in place.

According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day 2021 saw big drops in the percentage of Americans planning on going out, and/or planning on buying a gift for the holiday. Although many did report they were planning on a nice romantic evening in.

Nearly 2 years after the start of the pandemic, with Valentine’s Day 2022 approaching, we wanted to dig into our data to learn more about how the pandemic might have impacted online demand for certain go-to gifts. Did fewer people going out result in more people shopping for online gifts?

If so, which types got the biggest bump? And how are things looking as we head into 2022? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more.

Which types of Valentine’s Day gifts experienced the most online demand in 2021?

When it’s time to shop for your loved one on Valentine’s Day, there’s obviously countless types of gifts of every size, shape, and price point. But to keep things simple for this analysis, we decided to analyze some common search terms when it comes to online shopping for Valentine’s Day.

Here’s how demand for those terms stacked up during the week before Valentine’s Day last year:

There’s nobody who doesn’t like chocolate and candy come Valentine’s Day, so it’s no surprise that the two terms were the top two during the week before Valentine’s Day last year.

The rest of the top five—rose, candles, and flower–all saw similar levels of demand—although if you combine “flowers” and “flower” together, they’d see enough demand to edge out chocolate for the top overall term on the list.

Of course, this view shows us which items see the most overall demand, but it’s perhaps just as important to know which ones get the biggest Valentine’s Day bounce. So, we next compared demand for each category during the week before Valentine’s Day to the average weekly demand throughout the entire year:

Here we see that it’s Teddy Bears that actually receive the biggest Valentine’s Day boost, with demand increasing by a whopping 151% during the week before the holiday.

Lingerie and chocolate also got huge boosts, seeing demand more than double compared to the typical week during the rest of the year.

As you can see, every single item in our analysis gets at least a minor bump during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, strengthening the notion that the holiday drives big business even online.

To underscore just how big Valentine’s Day is for these types of items, here’s a look at weekly demand for all the items in our analysis combined:

While these types of items are also popular during Mother’s Day and the Holidays, there’s no bigger week of the year for them than Valentine’s Day.

Now let’s take the same view for some of the individual items in our analysis.

There’s simply no bigger week of the year for chocolates than Valentine’s Day. Easter and Mother’s Day certainly move the needle, and most of the month of December saw people buying plenty of chocolate, but they all pale in comparison to the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day.

But, as we saw in the list above, the holiday is even bigger for Teddy Bears:

Demand starts to spike sharply in mid-January, reaching near double the weekly average during the week of Jan 31-Feb 6, and then peaking at 151% during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.

The rest of the year sees almost no interest in Teddy Bears, with only the holidays bringing weekly demand above the annual average.

It’s a similar story for lingerie, which saw a similar steep ramp up in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, only to plummet immediately after. After mid-March, only the week before Halloween saw demand rise above the annual average.

Finally, here’s a combined look at the next three items that received the largest Valentine’s Day boost:

Roses got their biggest bump of the year during the week before Valentine’s Day, edging out Mother’s Day. Candy, meanwhile, also got its biggest single-week increase during Valentine’s Day, although October and December’s sustained increases make those Holidays a much larger driver of candy sales overall.

As for flowers, Valentine’s Day was good for the second largest week of the year, but Mother’s Day reigns supreme, tripling the boost in demand we saw over Valentine’s Day.

How has COVID-19 impacted online demand for Valentine’s Day gifts?

It’s clear that a lot of people went online to buy gifts for Valentine’s Day last year, but how did it compare to previous years? Did COVID-19 mean more people turned to online shopping to make the holiday more romantic? And if so, did some categories benefit more than others?

To find out we started by comparing demand during the week before Valentine’s Day in 2021 to that in 2020.

Demand for slippers was up 61% year-over-year in 2021, suggesting that the pandemic perhaps saw a record number of people looking to share comfy at-home gifts this year, especially when compared to last year’s pre-pandemic Valentine’s Day.

Candles saw demand up by 34% compared to 2020, perhaps due to the increase in people deciding to spend the night making a homemade candlelit dinner as opposed to going out to a fancy restaurant.

Interestingly, every item in our analysis saw demand rise during the week before Valentine’s Day in 2021 when compared to 2020 except for roses, which saw basically no year-over-year change.

To better understand how COVID-19 may have impacted demand on each of these items, let’s take an even closer look at a few.

A closer look at slippers reveals that Valentine’s Day doesn’t really appear to move the needle for this item in either year. However, it’s clear that COVID-19 did impact online demand for a new pair of slippers. Demand rose in the weeks following the initial lockdowns in March of 2020 as millions of Americans adjusted to a new work-from-home schedule where wearing slippers to a meeting became the new normal.

Once again, online demand for chocolate is clearly impacted by Valentine’s Day, both in 2020 and in 2021. Interestingly 2021 saw smaller increases in demand during Easter and Christmas compared to 2020, but there’s little doubt that the pandemic had more people turn to online shopping for all their chocolate needs on Valentine’s Day last year.

Like with slippers, the year-over-year increase in demand for candles seems to be more of a reflection of people purely buying more candles since the pandemic began.

Although there was a slight bump in demand during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day in 2021, it would seem that there were enough couples who decided to opt for an at-home candlelit dinner in the face of restricted in-person dining to move the needle at least a little bit.

Online demand for lingerie appears to have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Year-over-year demand was up big in January 2021, and got even bigger as Valentine’s Day approached.

This particular increase may have been more a result of a general shift to online shopping over in-person shopping during the pandemic as opposed to people being extra eager to buy lingerie last Valentine’s Day, but it’s difficult to say for certain.

A lesson for brands

After a closer look at each category, it’s clear that the pandemic has altered the way Americans shop online for Valentine’s Day. As we approach Valentine’s Day 2022, it’s difficult to say which of these trends will continue, and which might look entirely different.

Will more shoppers than ever be heading online to buy chocolates and roses? Are people eager to buy some new lingerie and book reservations for a fancy night out, or this be the year we see a huge surge in demand for candles and another cozy evening in?

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, get a consultation today.

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Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)