Snacks & Candy

C-Stores Could Gain Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Purchases

‘The most popular gifts are the classics—candy and greeting cards’
Valentine's Day shopping
Photograph: Shutterstock

Consumers plan to spend $25.8 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, on par with last year’s spending, which comes out to an average of $192.80 per person, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

More than half of consumers (53%) plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, on par with 52% last year. Sixty-two percent of consumers ages 25-34 plan to celebrate this year, more than any other age group.

Retailers can take advantage by stocking products they don’t often carry, such as greeting cards, flowers and specialty candies. These items are the most purchased for Valentine’s Day, with 56% of consumers who plan on shopping for the occasion purchasing candy, 40% purchasing greeting cards and 37% purchasing flowers, according to Petrosoft data.

To take advantage of the significant consumer spending on candy, Petrosoft notes that many companies produce seasonal Valentine’s Day-themed candy. For example, Hershey offers various Valentine’s Day packaged candy, like specialty colors of M&M candies and heart-shaped Reese’s cups. According to polls by Statista, 94% of American consumers recognize the Hershey brand, which means offering their specialty candies for Valentine’s Day is a safe bet for c-stores looking to boost revenue with the holiday. 

Last-minute spending also provides an opportunity for c-stores, which are more prevalent and open later than other candy, alcohol and flower retailers, Petrosoft noted in a report.

“Retailers are ready to help customers this Valentine’s Day with meaningful and memorable gifts,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF. “With consumers prioritizing their spouse or significant other this year, retailers expect to see a shift in spending for certain gifting categories.”

Ninety-four percent of people in the United States say they would be excited to receive chocolate and candy for Valentine’s Day. According to a survey from the National Confectioners Association. Fifty-two percent of people opt for sweet and heartfelt messages, 28% prefer a touch of humor and 20% go for a hint of sarcasm.

The top gifts include candy (57%), greeting cards (40%), flowers (39%), an evening out (32%), jewelry (22%), clothing (21%) and gift cards (19%), according to NRF.

“While shoppers may be spending the most on jewelry, overall, the most popular gifts are the classics—candy and greeting cards,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president at Prosper Insights and Analytics.

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