Most Valentine's Day Spenders Shop Week or Less Before Feb. 14

Many wait until day before, day of, reports NPD

CHICAGO -- As soon as Christmas tears down at retail, Valentine's Day goes up, yet 78% of those who celebrate Valentine's Day plan to shop a week or less before Feb. 14, and still many wait until Feb. 13 or 14 to purchase, finds recent snacking research by The NPD Group, Chicago.

Women do not begin their Valentine's Day shopping much earlier than men; one in three female buyers (32%) wraps up her shopping February 13-14 and 47% of men made their final Valentine's Day purchase on February 13 or 14, according to NPD's SnackTrack Holidays Valentine's Day Profile.

An estimated 185 million individuals--including 70 million women and 59 million men--celebrate Valentine's Day. While a nearly universal 92% of celebrating adults indicated plans to get someone a Valentine's Day gift, four of five celebrants (80%) actually followed through and gave one, reported NPD.

Outpacing greeting cards, the most common gift was candy, given by 38% of adults and 47% of teen gifters. By a wide margin, the leading candy was boxed chocolates, given by 55% of adult candy buyers and 45% of teens. Supermarkets and discount stores are the primary channels for Valentine's Day purchases. Consumers said that they choose these channels for convenience purposes.

"With the shopping cycle more compressed for Valentine's Day than for Christmas, there is a heightened need for a simplified shopping experience," said 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."

The NPD Group's SnackTrack is an online survey that continually tracks consumption of packaged snack foods from all channels that are eaten at-home and away-from-home, resulting in more than 350,000 snack food occasions per year. 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.

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services. It covers the automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food and foodservice, home, office supply, sports, technology, toy, video game and wireless sectors.