The COVID-19 pandemic is approaching the 1-year mark and is about to impact yet another holiday: Valentine’s Day.
To examine consumer behavior for this year’s celebration, Inmar Intelligence surveyed 1,000 adults from Jan 8-9 and found that a majority of consumers (81.6%) still plan to celebrate the holiday and 75.1% plan to purchase a gift, with traditional gifts such as chocolate (58.6%), flowers (44.8%) and gift cards (38.1%) among the most popular—all good news for grocers. Furthermore, 36.4% plan to shop both in-store and online, 22.6% plan to shop only in-store and 27.3% plan to shop only online.
But there will be some differences, with more people dining at home, cooking at home and seeking experiences vs. physical gifts. Click through to read how grocers can capitalize on these differences.
Dining at Home
Valentine’s Day is typically a restaurant-focused holiday, but with restaurants still closed or limited across the nation because of COVID, more people (70.2%) will be dining at home this holiday vs. dining at a restaurant (29.8%), Inmar found.
Holly Pavlika, SVP of corporate marketing for Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Inmar, told WGB that beyond providing the food, grocers can use “influencer content” to help shoppers get more creative with ideas on how to decorate and set a romantic mood.
“Those that are going to still continue to find ways to celebrate Valentine’s … are embracing their creativity, trying to finding ways to create those connections regardless of social distancing and all the other things that are happening in the market,” she said.
Cooking at Home
Of those who plan to dine at home, 53.6% plan to do the cooking, while 46.4% plan to order takeout, according to Inmar’s survey.
With recipe ideas, grocers can assist with those who plan to cook at home, but with meals-to-go or heat-and-eat items, grocers can also reach those opting for takeout. Either way, Pavlika suggests “incentivizing multiple purchases … whether that’s through coupons or other things, because we are in an economically challenged era right now. … Consumers actually expect retailers to help them during this time, not just with coupons and savings, but when it comes to holidays like Valentine’s, help them get creative, help them solve what do I do in a social distanced world.”
Experiences vs. Gifts
For the most part, consumers are looking to spend money on an experience this Valentine’s at 31.4%, vs. 22.5% who said they would spend on gifts, and 46.1% who said both, Inmar found.
Pavlika suggests grocers look into combination co-op opportunities with music or movie companies “that extend that mood beyond just buying food or decorations to set the mood.”
“The holidays are what we consider as normal life, and they are the things we celebrate, and I think we are all looking for those moments,” she said. “We will continue to be clever and creative and figure out how we can do this … because from predictions, we are going to be in this for a while.”