The business of love

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (quick – book that restaurant you meant to book a week ago!) and the ones really feeling the love are businesses.

The UK spends around £1.3 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts every year and for some businesses that makes for a very tidy revenue.  In terms of profit margins, card shops in particular make an absolute killing with a US study finding that these shops’ margins sit at around 27%.

According to the independent, it seems to be a more expensive day for men who spend £35 on average (vs. £20 for women).  They also report that 1 in 10 men spend a whopping £75 or more. And they say money can’t buy you love…..

Although it’s a couple of years old, this infographic from Barclays breaks down the way we spend our cash in the season of love – and interestingly highlights that 40% of Valentine’s Day spenders buy their gifts less than a week in advance.  So, if you’re a retailer, don’t be disheartened if your sales don’t ramp up instantly on the 1st February.

It’s not just loved-up couples who spend.  It’s reported that in the US, 15% of women will send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day!  Similarly, when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend, profits increase for bars and clubs that get packed out with singles trying to find love rather than maintain it.

So, Valentine’s Day is a sure fire winner for many businesses, but that’s not to say companies haven’t had to move with the times.  For example, many retailers are specifically aiming some products at same sex couples and the prevalence of dating apps and websites has also been a huge addition to the Valentine’s business bonanza.

If you make a fuss when your partner doesn’t do something special on Valentine’s Day, there are a huge number of businesses out there who will thank you for keeping this billion-pound pay day going.  On the other hand, if you’ve always been a bit cynical about Valentine’s Day, these statistics above would suggest that your cynicism is well founded.

On a historical note, the best theory is that Valentine existed during the reign of Emperor Claudius II who cut off his head.  Whilst you (hopefully) won’t be beheaded this time, you may feel like you’re bank balance has been somewhat decapitated.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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