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Unwrapping the Trends of Valentine's Day 2024: A Retail Insight

Valentine's Day, a day synonymous with love and gift-giving, often propels consumers into a last-minute frenzy to procure the ideal present for their loved ones. While a faction of the population opts for the convenience of online shopping or preemptive in-store purchases, a significant portion relies on the traditional brick-and-mortar stores for those final-hour finds. This year, we took a closer look at which sectors experienced a notable uptick in foot traffic on February 14th, comparing these insights with the patterns observed in the previous year to gauge the evolving retail landscape.

The Midweek Surge

Despite not being classified as a principal retail holiday, Valentine's Day ignites a noticeable midweek surge in footfall across various retail domains, notably in Restaurants, Discount & Dollar Stores, Liquor Stores, Grocery Outlets, Superstores, and establishments specializing in Breakfast, Coffee, Bakeries, and Beauty & Spa services. An analysis of the foot traffic on Valentine's Day 2024 against the average visits of the preceding six Wednesdays disclosed a substantial elevation in consumer presence, diverging from the usual midweek shopping quietude.

Restaurants led the charge with a 60.0% increase in visits, reflecting a preference for dining out. The allure of a morning coffee or brunch date manifested in a 19.7% uptick in foot traffic to Breakfast and Coffee shops. Evening plans appeared to favor Grocery and Liquor Store visits, while retailers offering budget-friendly gifts saw a beneficial impact from the Valentine's Day momentum.

The comparison not only highlighted an increase in visits for the reviewed categories against the Wednesday year-to-date average but also indicated an overall growth in foot traffic compared to Valentine's Day 2023, signaling a positive trend for physical retail in 2024.

The Boom in Greeting Card Retail

Often dubbed a 'Hallmark Holiday,' Valentine's Day undeniably boosts foot traffic to greeting card stores. In 2024, Hallmark stores and The Paper Store witnessed remarkable increases in visits, with Hallmark seeing a 123.2% surge over the six Wednesday average preceding Valentine's Day. Major drugstores like Walgreens and CVS, known for their greeting card selections, also enjoyed a spike in visits.

While Hallmark, Walgreens, and CVS did not exhibit year-over-year growth, possibly due to a reduction in their store count, The Paper Store saw a 10.8% increase in Valentine's Day foot traffic year-over-year, potentially benefiting from its expansion efforts.

The Role of Physical Stores in Last-Minute Gift Selections

The 2024 Valentine's Day underscored the significant role that brick-and-mortar retailers play in accommodating last-minute gift shoppers. This year's observance not only brought about notable year-over-year jumps across various key categories and brands but also reaffirmed the importance of physical retail in the consumer shopping experience, especially for those pivotal moments of gift-giving.

Source: MMCG, Placer ai

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