Why brands shouldn’t forget the panic purchasers this Valentine’s Day

Phuong Nguyen, Director at eBay Advertising, writes about the approaching day of love and why brands shouldn’t forget the panic purchasers.

Phuong Nguyen

Over the last decade Valentine’s Day has become one of the biggest moments in the retail calendar, with an estimated 65% of us sending a card to a loved one, and Brits alone spending a staggering £1.9 billion on gifts last year.

However, for the consumers it certainly isn’t all well planned romance. Whilst Valentine’s Day may arrive early on the high street, a significant proportion of people are actually leaving their shopping for the final hours before the big day. In fact, there are still a number of people shopping for Valentine’s related items on, and even after, 14th February.  

For marketers, this presents an audience they can’t afford to ignore. So we have used the insights into the 19 million monthly unique users on eBay.co.uk to identify the different mindsets at work here. 

The last minute rush

Despite gifts being unlikely to arrive in time, Valentine’s purchasing continues well into the last hours, and even minutes, of 13th February. Last year, on the day before Valentine’s Day, we registered 200 searches every hour for “Valentine’s” related items on eBay, right up until midnight.

We also know that stereotypes don’t always ring true; last year, women were more likely than their male counterparts to leave their Valentine’s shopping until the last minute. To capture this spend, brands need to look beyond pigeonholing shoppers by demographic and avoid front-loading their campaigns and missing the last minute market. 

That’s why we launched our Valentine’s shopper segment, part of our range of Advanced Targeting tools: to help brands be hyper-relevant to distinct shopper groups that would usually be targeted as a whole.

The little luxuries

With the clock ticking, those men who do leave it too late tend to compensate by splurging on more expensive gifts; searches by men for “perfume” and “handbag” on eBay rose by 24% and 30% respectively between 13th and 15th February last year.

Luxury brands can make the most of this opportunity and come to the rescue of these panicked men – but only if they’re visible and easy to engage with at the last minute.

Self-indulgent gifting

Valentine’s Day also gives brands a chance to reach out to the UK’s disappointed women, who take things into their own hands when the gift of their dreams doesn’t materialise. On 15th February last year, searches by women for “luxury” items and “candle” increased overnight by 20% and 24% respectively giving marketers a real incentive to look beyond the conventional Valentine’s window.

Once the day of flowers and chocolates, Valentine’s Day now holds huge potential for brands in all sectors to engage - but only if they can be relevant to different shoppers.

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