Retailers

Will Grocers Feel the Love This Valentine’s Day?

Americans projected to spend $23.9 billion for the holiday, according to survey data
Photograph: Shutterstock

Americans are projected to spend $23.9 billion this Valentine’s Day—a more than $2 billion increase from 2021, according to survey data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. 

“Following the historic level of consumer spending over the winter holidays, it appears that the trend will continue into 2022,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

The National Confectioners Association (NCA)is also predicting a rise in sales, with confectionary sales leading up to Valentine’s Days expected to top $3.4 billion, it said.  

“Valentine’s Day is positioned at the nexus of two powerful trends defining the confectionery category right now,” NCA President and CEO John Downs said in a statement. “Consumers are sharing chocolate and candy more frequently, and shoppers are increasingly looking for little moments to treat themselves. This year’s Valentine’s Day will benefit from both of these rising consumer behaviors.”

And the spending isn’t limited to candy.

Consumer spend is expected to be as much as $175.41 per person, the NRF study found, with shoppers shelling out cash on candy (56%), greeting cards (40%) and flowers (37%.)

Valentine's Day Spending Plans

Kroger-owned data and media company 84.51°found 71% of consumers are planning to purchase their Valentine’s Day flowers from a grocery store as compared to 8% purchasing them through an online channel.

The 84.51° data also found that 75% of consumers plan to celebrate by buying gifts for their spouses or significant others, while 33% said they’ll buy for their children, 11% will gift to other relatives and 8% said they’ll find a way to spoil their pets.

“From a promotional standpoint, keep in mind the proximity of the Super Bowl to Valentine’s Day this year. (Last year the Super Bowl was a full week prior to Valentine’s Day; this year the Super Bowl is the day before.) The combination of inflation, labor shortages and demand shifts makes it critical to get the most value out of every single pricing and promotional activity,” said Matt Pavich, senior director of retail innovation for Revionics, an AI solutions provider for pricing, promotions, markdowns and competitive insight.

Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop, Ahold Delhaize USA’s largest brand, is wading into the debate of a romantic Valentine’s Day date for two or the Big Game with friends? The retailer asked East Coast residents if they could only celebrate one of the two, which would they choose; 58% chose love, while 42% chose catching the Big Game.

Respondents also said they’d rather spend money on a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner (61%) vs. a killer game day spread (39%); and 51% said they will be staying home this Valentine’s Day, with 22% saying they would go out and 27% still unsure of their plans.

The predicted increase in Valentine's Day spending does present some challenges. Chocolate suppliers are facing shortages in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

The Hershey Co. said labor shortages and factory capacity issues are both causing a shortage in chocolate and candy supply, the Wall Street Journal reported. Mondelez International, which makes Swedish Fish and Toblerone, among other candy brands, reported similar low inventory issues to the WSJ, also citing labor issues.

Despite supply chain issues, all the data points to consumers ready to spend. “Valentine’s Day is a special occasion for many Americans, even more so as we navigate out of the pandemic,” Shay of NRF said.

• Diane Adam contributed to this report. 

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