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V-Day Inclusivity: It’s Time to Rethink Valentine’s Day Marketing

It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is a commercial juggernaut: from restaurants, hotels, retailers, florists -- a lot of businesses stand to make a killing during this ‘Hallmark holiday’ that is traditionally targeted towards couples. And if you want an idea how big it is: In the US, Valentine’s Day sales reached an all-time high of $20.1 Billion in 2018 and is expected to be even higher this 2019.

But with the changing social media landscape comes a shift in consumer behavior. As millennials now hold off on marriage and delay getting into long-term relationships, more people are buying gifts for their friends (or themselves) in place of significant others. In a US survey conducted within the last five years, people now also buy Valentine gifts for their family members (59.4%), friends (21.7%), teachers (20.4%) and colleagues (12.1%).

It’s pretty clear that Valentine’s Day is no longer just for couples as it is has now become a holiday that allows you to celebrate people that you love whoever they maybe. And from our perspective, this gives marketers a bigger sandbox to play around in. It takes effort and strategic thinking to reach the audience you would like in a heavily commercialized ‘event’ such as Valentine’s, and the fun part is it’s no longer just limited to flowers, candy and expensive dinners.

Now that the holiday is increasingly becoming inclusive, marketing campaigns have to follow suit. It is now wise to promote experiential gifts for family and friends, or self-love indulgences for those proudly single people who want to treat themselves. You can also promote gifts for the platonic loves of our lives: the BFFs who have been with us since day one. The possibilities are now almost endless, and it’s worth noting one additional trend: 50% of consumers use social media to assist them in Valentine’s Day purchase decisions.