Valentine’s Day is a last-minute holiday for most shoppers.
An analysis of web traffic and conversion rates point to online shoppers putting off shopping for the Feb. 14 holiday until Feb. 1, with the peak days on Feb. 12 and 13.
This industry trend holds true for even the largest players in the space, such as 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. (No. 59 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000). “Valentine’s is very much a last-minute holiday,” says 1-800-Flowers.com CEO Christopher McCann.
Orders from FTD.com, ProFlowers.com and 1800Flowers.com peaked on Feb. 13, with more orders on Feb. 12-13 than on the previous five days combined, according to marketing analysts firm Edison Trends, which bases its data on 2.9 million U.S. shoppers’ e-mail and app receipts.
Here’s a look at the last-minute nature of the Valentine’s Day online shopper:
Retailers had increasing traffic throughout the month, and FTD.com and JTV.com both had spikes in traffic on Feb. 11, according to web measurement firm SimilarWeb.
1-800-Flowers.com Inc.’s 1800Flowers.com had a 24.6% average desktop conversion rate on Feb. 12 and 24.0% conversion rate on Feb. 13, which is roughly 30% higher than its desktop average the week before (Feb. 5-11), which was 18.5%, according to Jumpshot. Jumpshot’s analysis is based on its review of more than 160 billion monthly clicks made by 100 million consumers globally. Jumpshot says U.S. consumers comprise a significant portion of its panel. Jumpshot tracks the clickstream of consumers to track on-site searches, product page views and online conversion points. Mobile data does not include app data.
The Flowers/Gifts category as a whole has a higher-than-average conversion rate at 3.27% compared with the median category conversion rate of 2.40% for online retailers in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500 database.
Mobile conversion rates followed a similar late-in-the-season surge. ProFlowers.com had the highest mobile conversion rate of the analyzed flower/bouquet retailers, reaching a 14.5% mobile web conversion rate on Feb. 12.
For e-mail marketing, subject lines expressing urgency drove strong open rates, according to email marketing vendor eDataSource. EDataSource analyzed emails of more than 30 online retailers of chocolate, flower and jewelry and mass merchants between Jan. 15-Feb. 14 with the words “Valentine” or “Valentine’s” in the subject line.
“No one wants to forget Valentine’s Day in a relationship where the other partner considers it important,” says John Landsman, director of strategy and analytics at eDataSource. “Putting that out there in a subject line about ‘time running out’ is a classic fear-arousal technique. Better to get it done now than to contemplate the embarrassment of having forgotten.”
While it may be a last-minute holiday, shoppers are willing to spend on their sweetheart. The NRF estimates that shoppers spent $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day this year in total (including online, in stores and in restaurants or an evening out). Among the 13% of U.S. consumers who shopped online for Valentine’s Day, 29.1% spent more than $100, according to a Bizrate Insights survey of thousands of consumers in February.