Idealists say it’s the most romantic day of the year; cynics call it a Hallmark holiday. Whatever your point of view, one thing’s for sure: B2C brands love Valentine’s Day.
Every year, consumers spend billions of dollars ($25.9bn in 2023) to show their loved ones how much they care – from flowers and chocolate to romantic evenings out. Brands have capitalized on February’s annual celebration of love for decades, running special Valentine’s Day promotions to maximize customer engagement and sales.
With so many brands competing for a piece of the action, a well-designed Valentine’s Day promotion or contest can help you stand out from the crowd.
Why Valentine’s Day is Such a Big Deal for B2C Brands
Valentine’s Day is the first major consumer holiday of the year and the first opportunity we have to treat our loved ones after the annual Christmas splurge.
Despite recent economic uncertainty, 52% of US consumers intended to celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2023. Analysts forecast total spending would top $25.9bn at an average of $192 per person. Not only is that 10% higher than in 2022, but it’s also the highest on record.
Chocolate, flowers, gift cards, and jewelry remain the most popular gifts. Consumers purchase 58 million pounds of chocolate every year. However, Valentine’s Day is an important occasion for brands across market verticals:
- Clothing – US consumers spend $2.9b on clothing, including lingerie, every year.
- Beauty products – 70% of consumers prefer beauty products over other gifts. This includes hair and skincare products, perfume, and appliances.
- Dining out – 74% of people dine out or order in as part of their Valentine’s Day celebrations.
- Alcohol – Wine and alcohol account for 16% of all Valentine’s Day purchases.
- Experiences – 32% of people prefer to give experiences, like theater tickets or spa days, over traditional gifts (especially among Gen Z and millennials).
It’s not only smitten shoppers who splash the cash on Valentine’s Day. Recent studies show the average consumer spends $52.65 on gifts for friends, co-workers, and even pets.
Galentine’s Day Presents New Opportunities
Popularized by US sitcom Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day is an annual event that takes place on February 13th. As described by protagonist Leslie Knope, it celebrates female friendship and platonic love.
“Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies.”
Galentine’s Day has become increasingly popular in recent years. And while it’s not as widely recognized as Valentine’s Day, brands have been quick to recognize its potential. Hallmark and Moonpig stock a range of Galentine’s Day cards every year. Other brands go one step further by running special Galentine’s Day promotions and campaigns.
For example, Bloom & Wild ran a co-branded promotion that gave one lucky winner and four friends everything they needed for the perfect night in. This included beauty treats, recipe boxes, luxury bouquets, and cozy pajamas. Winemaker Echo Falls spent £1 million on its Galentine's Day campaign: Phones On Silent, Girls On Loud. Featuring podcast spots from the stars of Made in Chelsea, the campaign promoted several Echo Falls products, including its Fruit Fusions range.
Get Inspired with These 7 Valentine’s Day Promotion Examples
1. Love Insurance (Toblerone)
Toblerone gave new couples a little reassurance for Valentine’s Day with its Love Insurance campaign. Couples that bought a special edition chocolate bar got free ‘love insurance’ with their purchase. Should the relationship end, couples could register their purchase on the Toblerone Instagram account to receive a voucher for a free bar.
2. Love Your Pores (Bioré)
KAO hosted a simple yet effective gift-with-purchase promotion to drive sales of its Bioré product line. Customers who bought two participating products from any retailer could submit their receipt to earn a $50 eGift card.
3. Valentine’s Day Trivia (Dunkin’ Donuts)
Dunkin’ Donuts harnessed the power of gamification for Valentine’s Day. The donut and coffee brand invited Instagram followers to play a simple trivia game for the chance to win a free medium or large espresso.
4. Love Story Zine (Gucci)
*Image credit: Gucci
Gucci went all out to celebrate the power of love. In collaboration with visual artist Ariana Papademetropoulos, the world-renowned luxury fashion brand created a limited-edition zine as the centerpiece of its Valentine’s Day promotion. Depicting a fairytale love story, each panel shows an item from Gucci’s Valentine’s Day collection.
The promotion helped to raise awareness of the new collection while showcasing the brand’s inimitable flair.
5. What They Really Want (Manscaped)
Manscaped subverted expectations with characteristic humor for its What They Really Want Valentine’s Day promotion. Customers who bought the brand’s Performance Package got a Lawn Mower 4.0 hair trimmer at no extra cost, plus two gifts and free shipping.
6. Anti-Valentine’s Day (Hotels.com)
*Image credit: PR Newswire
Hotels.com gave its customers the chance to turn heartbreak into humor. Its anti-Valentine’s Day promotion invited customers to write in to explain why their ex-partners deserved to holiday in a dumpster. The entrant with the best account won a $300 Hotel.com gift card.
7. Share the Love (Fair Trade)
*Image credit: Fair Trade
Fair Trade Campaigns encouraged consumers to stop and think in the run-up to Valentine’s Day 2022. Flower growers and cocoa farmers work tirelessly every year to support Valentine’s Day, often in harsh conditions. The promotion highlighted this issue, encouraging consumers to purchase only Fair Trade products and sign a virtual Valentine’s card to show their appreciation for local growers and farmers.
Although it’s not a traditional promotion, Share the Love is a prime example of how brands can share their values and support good causes.
Valentine’s Day Isn’t Just for the Romantics
As these examples show, Valentine’s Day promotions come in many shapes and sizes.
Finding the approach that works for you depends on several factors including your industry, products, and, your customers. Before choosing your approach, review your customer data analytics. This will help you tailor your promotion to their preferences, maximizing engagement.
Create Valentine’s Day promotions your customers (and their partners) will love. Contact us to learn more about contests, sweepstakes, and shopper marketing solutions.