Valentine’s Day shopping: Survey reveals buying trends of 2019

While jewelry and chocolate dominate gift-giving options this Valentine’s Day, our new survey of shoppers reveals how budget, planning, and credit preferences are shaping how they say “be mine.”

We surveyed 1,050 Americans aged 18 to 72 at the end of January to uncover Valentine’s Day buying behaviors.

Valentine’s Day is no longer just for the traditional romantic retailers. Survey results showed an  even split between shoppers giving material items and unique experiences, which suggests a wide variety of merchants will get a slice of the $20.7 billion pie the National Retail Federation estimates for Valentine-related sales this year.

We found that of the Americans who are giving gifts for Valentine’s Day this year, 39 percent intend to spend between $100 and $500 on gifts for romantic partners, friends, family members, and even pets. But half plan to spend less than $100, according to the survey.

Below are three insights from the survey that retailers should consider to make the most of Valentine's Day purchasing activity:

Expanding beyond traditional offerings:

The fact that half of the respondents prefer to give experiences may provide new opportunities for travel and tourism companies, artisanal businesses, and more. This preference resonated even more among millennials (61 percent), a sought-after market.

Timing for Valentine’s Day promotions:  According to the survey results, the window of opportunity for enticing most customers for Valentine’s Day purchases is not lengthy.  A large majority of shoppers (83 percent) spend a month or less planning what to buy. Marketing during the first month of the year may also work well with the majority of gift-givers (69 percent) who reported plans to buy at stores where they had shopped before.

Paying with credit: When it comes to paying for gifts, 68 percent of shoppers said they were avoiding credit cards in favor of paying with cash or debit. More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) also said they would consider using an installment loan to pay for Valentine’s Day gifts in the future. Implementing a pay-over-time option could help you access this growing demographic of customers.

“Expressing love to those who mean the most to you is the best part of Valentine’s Day, whether you spend money on gifts or not,” said Rob Pfeifer, Chief Revenue Officer of Affirm. “Americans are looking for ways to shop for gifts in a way that gives them budget control and flexibility when they make a purchase, and Affirm’s collaboration with many merchants to offer honest lending solutions can help them spread the love to their customers no matter what gift they’re giving.”

Many retailers—including those who work with Affirm to offer pay-over-time options to buyers—stand to benefit from Americans expressing love on Valentine’s Day. We’re hoping results released last month about how Affirm’s flexible payment options helped merchants’ holiday sales preview a similar boost our retail partners will love in February.

For more information about our Valentine’s Day survey, see the press release. To learn more about working with Affirm for your business, contact us here.