Gearing Up for Year’s Most ‘Anxious’ Holiday


Some say you can’t put a price tag on love, but each year the National Retail Federation (NRF) does an annual study to do just that, and last year love cost the U.S. $19.7B with year-over-year growth. This makes love the second biggest U.S. spending holiday trailing only Christmas.

As the price tag for love climbs ever higher, so does the anxiety level over planning the perfect Valentine’s Day. There are a number of factors that are driving this anxiety, including: partner expectations, social media and peer pressure.  Just a quick scan through Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and you are able to easily see and react to all these expressions of love on Valentine’s Day.  So it’s not surprising to learn that Millennials, the digital natives, are carrying the highest share of this anxiety compared to other age groups. 

We recently conducted a survey among 4,300 consumers between the ages of 18 – 70, and inquired about their Valentine’s Day plans, expectations and anxiety. Of the 60 percent of Americans who report being in a romantic relationship, we  found that Millennials possess the highest levels of stress about planning the perfect Valentine’s Day than the other age segments we surveyed – twice as high as Generation Xers and four times that of Baby Boomers. Length of relationship also plays a key role as those who are in a relationship of two years or newer have higher stress levels than those in longer relationships.

To make the stakes on love even higher WalletHub found that nearly 53 percent of women would end a relationship if they didn't receive anything for Valentine's Day. This may be the underlying reason men were expected to spend nearly twice as much as women, with average expenses totaling $196.39 compared with women's $99.87.

What are all these billions of dollars being spent on? According to the NRF, consumers planned an average spend of $146.84 per person on candy, greeting cards, flowers and experiences such as spa visits and dinner.  Over half of respondents said they would be purchasing candy for their Valentine this year.

Inclusive Valentine’s Day Bundles

Supermarkets are well positioned to help anxious Valentine’s shoppers as they carry three of the top five most purchased gifts for Valentine’s Day – candy, flowers and greeting cards.  With the stress-factor in mind, here are a few suggestions to help these anxious shoppers deliver on Valentine ’s Day.

Retailers should focus on creating easy combinations of flowers, cards and candy that will appeal to the various generations and gift categories. Ease of purchase was found to be the top request in helping shoppers navigate their Valentine’s shopping endeavors this year.

Help Shoppers Create a Romantic Night In

Help shoppers avoid the headache of restaurant reservations and inflated price-fix menus and help them plan a romantic dinner at home with recommendations on meals with different wine pairings.

While anxiety about Valentine’s Day may not dissipate completely, there are ways that grocers and retailers can help their customers navigate this much-loved holiday.


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