Love it or loathe it - you can’t visit any retailer this time of year, whether it’s a large supermarket or a local convenience store, without being bombarded with Valentines Day reminders, cards, gifts, etc.
But with retail so dominated after Christmas with the romantic notion of February 14th, we ask, is romance still alive in the UK?
Firstly, lets look at how well celebrated Valentines Day is within the UK. Recently, a survey conducted by IPSOS Mori, (2022), found that 6 in 10 Britains (or 59%) of people in relationships said they were likely to celebrate February 14th with their partner. Whilst 4 in 10 (or 37%) said it was unlikely they would celebrate the day with their partner.
In terms of consumer spending, it’s easy to see that Valentines has fast grown to become a major retail event, with marketing and consumables prominently aimed at making sure consumers feel bad if choosing not take part in the day. For example, in Britain (2022), 43% of couples stated they planned to send their partner a Valentines Day card, (securing Britain as the most likely country to do so out of 28 countries survey).
Why do so many choose NOT to celebrate Feb 14th?
When looking at the reasons provided by 37% of Britons, in relationships, choose not to celebrate the day. The following reasons were provided;
- 69% believe the holiday is too commercialised
- 17% said the day was too old fashioned
- 13% stated it’s not a part of their culture/traditions
- 13% also said it is too expensive/can’t afford it
- 7% said they just didn’t have the time to celebrate
It’s easy to look at these statistics, (2022, IPSOS Mori), and identify with at least some of the reasons provided. But that leads us to the next question - why is their perceived commercialised pressure placed on Valentines Day, and, how do the expectations placed on couples tend to materialise in consumer spending.
How does Valentines Day impact the retail sector?
Post Christmas their is always a lull in sales, which from a retailer point of view is incredibly scary. The rise of pre-Christmas sales has all but diminished the traditional January sales which so often help retailers cope with the sudden, sharp drop in sales after the holiday season. Consumers now expect sales earlier and earlier, with the current cost of living crisis making consumers ever more savvy when it comes to spending.
With this in mind, Valentines Day can now be seen as the major event retailers can go to straight after the holiday period to push sales to consumers, and the statistics from UK spending habits (2022) seem to support this surge of sales.
For example, in the lead up to February 14th 2022 in the UK, the following items saw above average increases in sales;
- 33% increase in chocolates/candy
- 31% increase in flower sales
- 19% increase in wine/alcohol
- 11% increase in perfume sales
- 9% increase in lingerie/erotic accessories
Further to this, data taken from Statista (2022), shows clear retail growth in the UK year on year, when concerning consumer spending around Valentines Day. For example, in 2017, consumers spent an estimated £687 million on consumables for Valentines Day. Whereas in 2022, consumer spending on the day reached a staggering estimate of £990 million!
It is these clear surges in sales post Christmas 2021 which strongly suggest that romance in the UK is truly alive and well. Further to this, a survey taken in January 2021, (IPSOS), on relationship satisfaction around the world, showed that in the UK, a significant majority of Britons say they are happy in their current relationship with their spouse, domestic partner, fiancé(e), or special friend. This equates to a staggering 9 in 10 (or 92%) of Britons currently satisfied in their relationship.
So are Britons a truly loved up bunch?
Overall, when summarising how Britons feel about Valentines Day, we can see that overwhelmingly more couples take part in celebrating the day, than those who don’t. Additionally, when looking at Britons in relationships overall, the extremely high rates of satisfaction in relationships (92%), suggests that whether choosing to celebrate the day or not, doesn’t particularly impact your happiness in your relationship. However, with noticeable post Christmas surges in sales, you might be best advised not to take your chances and grab your partner a gift sooner rather than later - just incase.