Branding Love: Who Owns Valentine’s Day?

Can You Buy Love? Valentine’s Day Marketers Think So.

According to a recent report from the National Retail Federation, nearly $19 billion will be spent on Valentine’s Day in the US this year. Yes, that’s billions with a B. So with that much money on the table, we are curious to look at which brands best suited to leverage the occasion and cash in on the dollars being spent in early February.

They call Valentine’s Day a Hallmark holiday in reference the shear volume of greeting cards that are bought and handed out. But there’s a lot more going on than that when it comes to retail sales. The same NRF report breaks down the approximate totals that will be spent in each retail category. Let’s have a look at some of the examples and which brands may be coming out on top this Valentine’s Day.

1800Flowers FTD LogosFlowers: $2.1 billion
Roses, assorted bouquets and all kinds of variations of flowers will be purchased for loved ones on Valentines’ Day. And while at first we may not think about any brands in the flower game thanks to the mom-and-pop nature of local flower shops, there’s more to the story.

There are brands who are capitalizing on retail flower sales year round, and especially in mid-February, namely 1-800 Flowers and Florists’ Transworld Delivery (FTD). Both brands have partnerships with local flower shops all over Canada and will take their cut on thousands of orders made this month. They are the major players in retail when it comes to flowers, and they are getting paid.

Clothing: $2 billion
When it comes to Valentine’s Day clothing sales, lingerie is the Queen. And because of that, we’re looking at brands like Victoria’s Secret, La Senza, and even La Vie en Rose as the players who are looking to capitalize on the sexy nature of the holiday.

We all know that Victoria’s Secret is the major player in the field, and they know too. With small promotions on their website and in store, as well as the major advertising dollars that they spend year round, they are the biggest brand when it comes to sexy Valentine’s Day clothing. They will bring men into stores to buy things for their partners, and they will sell gift cards to the men who don’t know what to buy, boosting sales and spreading the brand in the process.

Lindt Valentine's Day Chocolate 2015Candy/Chocolate: $1.7 billion
Lindt, Godiva, Laura Secord, and even Hershey and Cadbury are looking to capitalize on the chance to make some of the Valentine’s Day money available each year. Whether shoppers are going to high-end retail shops, or the supermaket, chocolates by many of these brands are available, and presented in custom displays of pink and red, covered in hearts and designed specifically to make shoppers buy on the spot.

Gift Cards: $1.5 billion
This is a, for lack of a better term, wild card category. Gift cards may be looked at as one of the most impersonal gifts that someone can give. But really, a gift card to someone’s favourite retailer is perhaps more personal than chocolate, and will represent a wider variety of retailers.

All of the categories above could benefit from gift card sales, along with the LCBO, Home Depot/Canadian Tire type stores, Winners/HomeSense type options, as well as movie theatres, restaurants and more. Whether people are buying $10 iTunes cards, or $100 steakhouse gift cards, the dollars add up and many brands will find themselves represented in Valentine’s Day sales.

To the general public Valentine’s Day may be about celebrating love, but don’t ever forget that it’s also about big business and brands finding a way to cash in on one moment. As far as they’re concerned, love is for sale right now!

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Joshua Murray

Fuelled by ideas, opportunity and coffee, Joshua attacks the social media landscape every day with a purpose. His experience in retail, customer service and public relations have combined to give him a 360 degree view of social media for brands and he is committed to helping all of his clients leverage their voice in the social sphere.

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