UK Valentine's Day spend to stay sluggish, accessories are off the menu

UK consumers are expected to have spent/be about to spend more than £1 billion on Valentine’s Day this year. That sounds a lot but it’s only a 0.7% year-on-year rise in a world where inflation is running at over 2%.


UK Valentine's Day spend will be muted this year


And the figure, which comes from the analysts at GlobalData, doesn’t hold out a lot of hope for the fashion sector. 

“Buying food and drink to have at home remains the greatest opportunity for retailers to entice shoppers to spend on this occasion, with many consumers opting to make a romantic meal at home rather than indulge in what can be an expensive takeaway or often, busy dining-out experience,” GlobalData said. 

And with dining at home on the menu, the need to buy something new to wear for the occasion might be less acute.

Analyst Zoe Mills said: “Consumers want to participate in this event, however, for many, spending on dining out and a lavish gift is not affordable. This is a positive result for retailers who may be seeing a lull in footfall after the busy Christmas peak.”

While gifts remain the largest category in the Valentine’s Day market, they’re only forecast to grow 0.5% in 2019, and again, the uplift in spend in this area is being driven by food and drink gifts rather than fashion. “These items [are] more affordable than accessories such as leathergoods, which are forecast to see a decline in popularity in 2019,” we’re told.

But jewellers should still get a boost from the event. Mills added: “For many shoppers, a Valentine’s Day gift is a token of affection rather than an extravagant expense and as such, the average amount spent on gifts is much less that spent on other events, such as birthdays and Christmas.

"Key gifting categories will be jewellery, particularly for female recipients, and food & drink gifts such as the traditional box of chocolates and items such as Champagne or Prosecco. Retailers should highlight different price points in their Valentine’s Day gifting ranges to ensure customers can find an option that is affordable for them."

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