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Valentine’s Shoppers Procrastinate

Valentine's Day Gift Purchases
Data: The NPD Group/SnackTrack Holidays Valentine's Day Profile

CHICAGO — Seventy-eight percent of shoppers will not begin to shop for Valentine's Day until at least a week before, finds a recent survey by market researchers The NPD Group .

Many shoppers still procrastinate until February 13 or even 14, Valentine's Day, to purchase. One in three female buyers, or 32 percent, wraps up their shopping the 48-hour period of February 13 to 14. Men are a little worse at procrastinating. Forty-seven percent of men will make their final Valentine's Day purchase on February 13 or 14, according to an NPD online system that tracked 350,000 snack food occasions per year, including those consumed at home and away. Every day SnackTrack panelists (adults and children) report the snack foods they ate "yesterday," and identify brand, flavor and attributes, as well as information about the consumption situation and motivations for choosing their snack foods.

An estimated 185 million grownups and youngsters, including 70 million women and 59 million men, celebrate Valentine's Day. While 92 percent of celebrating adults planned to buy someone a Valentine's Day gift, only 80 percent followed through and actually gave one, reports NPD's snacking research. Outpacing Valentine's greeting cards, the most common gift was candy, which was given by 38 percent of adults and 47 percent of teen gifters. Of the candies, boxed chocolates were the most popular sweetheart gift, given by 55 percent of adult candy buyers and 45 percent of teens.

Supermarkets and discount stores are the primary channels for Valentine's Day purchases. Consumers say that they choose these channels for their convenience.

"With the shopping cycle more compressed for Valentine's Day than for Christmas, there is a heightened need for a simplified shopping experience," says Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst. "Having Valentine's Day items all in one spot and offering all-in-one bundles of cards and gifts will help these last minute shoppers."

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