Valentine's Day: Expanded "Be Mine" Definitions And Shopping Occasions

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, February 12, 2020

As I was perusing the aisle in my local store I was shocked by how narrow the current perception of Valentine’s Day is in the brick and mortar world - a sea of confectionery focused on sweethearts and teachers.  

Ninety percent of purchases still happen in physical stores, but as we approach this micro holiday, consumers will be using ecommerce channels to find items for their real “be mines” in planning experiences for the modern Valentines. On Amazon, the store is designed for six segments, layered with a Hallmark Live event.  Amazon is leading the retail world on harnessing intent to determine what consumers are really shopping for.   

Per the National Retail Federation’s 2020 Valentines Consumer spending survey, those celebrating the holiday said they plan to spend an average $196.31, up 21 percent over last year’s previous record of $161.96. Spending is expected to total $27.4 billion, up 32 percent from last year’s record $20.7 billion. 



In order to win as a brand during this sweetheart season, a marketer needs to pick up social cues and intelligent segmenting of audiences to understand which kind of V-Day they’re looking to have. This will go a long way in being a brand of service to them as opposed to pushing the traditional solutions.  Are you building omnichannel experiences and campaigns to support the modern V-Day celebration?

Here are four new sweethearts you should be considering if you’re not already: 

Furry Friends

Pets are your sweethearts – yes they are. In fact, for the 45% (yes, 45%) of pet parents who’d take their pet for a massage, pampering their pet on V-day isn’t too much of a stretch. The NRF notes that 20% of people will treat their pets to a Valentine’s Day gift. And adds that almost half (47%) of its pet parents have planned a full-on Valentine’s Day celebration for their canine companions this year, such as buying them new outfits or baking them a special dessert. 


Galentine’s Day – it’s a thing. Well, it started on Parks and Rec, but when Lyft got on board, Target ran promotions about it and it’s now a button on, it’s safe to say that it’s legitimate. It’s about ladies celebrating ladies, just another form of affection where brands can play a key role. Per eCommerce analytics company Profitero, demand for Galentines-related products over the last two weeks has skyrocketed with Wine Sets and Galentines décor up over 400,000 spots in Amazon best seller rankings! 

Work Spouses

The phrase work wife or husband exists for a reason! Consumers say they will spend an average $12.96 on co-workers, up from $7.78; the amount spent on co-workers, for example, more than doubling to 7 percent of the total from 3 percent.  What are the right gifts for the workplace when so much of the confectionery items are designed for loved ones? 

Adventurous Couples 

Valentine’s Day for lovers is more about shared experiences vs sweet gifts.  ‘Adventure Travel’ as a search term has grown 1246% on Pinterest Year over Year. Roughly a quarter (23.7%) a plan to give a gift of experience, and 42.3% say they would love to receive one. The intention to share something special, first privately then on social platforms is a key driver in purchase decisions that every brand should be aware of. Even for those looking to save dollars. Considering 40% of consumers will be spending less than $50 this February 14th, experiences, rather than trinkets, are on the mind. For example, couples-themed board games are ranked #3 on Amazon’s best seller list in the Toys & Games category, spiking up 8,000 spots in the last 30 days per Profitero. Think about how your brand can be part of shared experiences or how your retail experience can compensate for one, for those of us who have yet to pay off their credit card debt from Christmas. 

Searches for anything that will make Valentine’s ‘easy’ – from dinner for two (+1062%), treats (+801%) and desserts (+158%), all surge closer to Valentine’s as people balance their day jobs and the want to make those around them feel extra special. 

Valentine’s Day is becoming more things to more relationships today. And although the execution has changed – from Romeo & Juliette types of love, to generally celebrating the relationships that you hold dear, I’d argue that the people have taken ownership and brought out the holiday’s true intention more than ever before. So it’s up to brands to follow that and broaden who they speak to on V-day and in  what channels.  Ecommerce channels offer the incredible ability to offer a broad assortment of items to unique segments. As we close on this holiday, urgency opens up wallets with last minute lovers going mobile. 

Criteo data shows us that people increasingly pull the trigger as the 14th gets closer – and half of those transactions are made on mobile. February 12th is the day to capitalize on pre-Valentine’s anxiety to come up with a way to show affection. So time to rethink your total “be mine” strategy and find ways to truly connect with shoppers in the ways they want to shop for gifts and experiences.


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