Valentines Day 2024: “What’s love got to do with it?”

We’ve survived another dreary January and what feels like the eternal month when it comes to finances. And if industry reports and many retailers financial performances are believed, Christmas 2023 marked a return to ‘normal’. In spite of continued cost-of-living pressures, retail sales and consumer spend exceeded many expectations with a reported 6% increase in household spending across the month of December.

But there is no rest for the wicked (or Cupid for that matter) as the next big seasonal retail events loom on the horizon! While my store experiences in January would have me believe Easter is here already (anyone else?! It’s just too soon, right?) before the bunny, we have the red-hued, heart shaped, love bombing of Valentine’s Day to contend with. But with the backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis still at play, just what does Valentines Day look like in 2024?

Reimagined romance

Whether you love it or hate it, recent research suggests that in the UK we are splashing out to some extent on Valentine’s Day this year, with roughly 65% planning to celebrate this season with the average spend expected to be £50. Overall, UK predicted spend is set to total over £1.5 billion in 2024 with most of this revenue generated by millennials.

But this is no longer just about partners and significant others.

Valentine’s Day is experiencing an evolution

With celebrations going beyond traditional gifts and recipients with romance increasingly reimagined. It’s now increasingly seen as an opportunity to spend on friends, (viewing of #Galentines content on TikTok surpasses 600M views and Hallmark has an entire range of Galentines cards and gifts), colleagues, pets and arguably the most important person in consumers lives, that’s right, themselves.

In fact, in 2022 dating website ‘Plenty of Fish’ encouraged single users not to spend more time on the app seeking love on February 14th, but to embrace their single status with their ‘Be Single, Not Solo’ campaign, tapping into the 36% of users who said they would celebrate the day indulging in a self-care evening with friends, reflecting the way consumers now use the app not only for romance but for friendship, coining the term ‘communidating’.

as consumers look to express not only love but gratitude and self-care

You can see how these projections of spend may be increasing. This is especially apparent in the US where data suggests that spending on these non-traditional groups is set to rise to $7.1 billion dollars, up by almost $2 billion on the previous year. While consumers might be spending, and gifting is evolving beyond immediate sweethearts, what exactly is driving this spend? And how have brands and retailers leant into Valentines Day this year to reflect these changes?

Tapping into trends

It’s clear that brands are leaning into the changes in how we celebrate and also in what we buy when it comes to Valentine’s gifting, with some key trends from our very own “Consumer Cost of Living Report reflected in recent campaigns, notably in the space of ‘Joyful distractions’.


‘Joyful distractions’, is the idea that smaller indulgences and comforts can help consumers find joy in these uncertain times. One space where this is manifesting is in food and drink; categories classically connected to allowing for moments of joy. Some of our favourite expressions this Valentine’s Day are twists on perhaps more traditional associations with seasonal SKUs. For example, offering an alternative to ‘big box’ chocolates, GU’s recent ‘Love is…’ campaign focuses on small treats and sentimental messaging via its individual serving chocolate melting pots. In alcohol, offering an alternative to a classic bottle of wine or fizz, NIO cocktails give consumers the ability to create Valentine’s Day cocktail gift boxes with individual, single serve drinks premixed and mailed right to your door.

Thoughtful, convenient and delicious

Alongside food and drink, beauty brands and retailers are painting the town red this Valentine’s Day as they lean into not only romantic love but also those more platonic relationships that we know are increasingly celebrated! Lush for example has introduced not just one or two, but 34 new products for Valentines Day 2024, with bath bombs, bubble bars and lip products to name a few. And with themes including both love letters and ‘bestie hugs’ and the ‘BFF gift set’, it’s clear they see opportunity for celebrating not just your significant other but yourself and your friends!

Beyond this, Valentine’s Day offers brands the opportunity to tap into established momentum around consumer trends, introducing new SKU’s, variations or twists on favorites to bring new joy to an already established product. Perhaps the ‘hottest’ brand in this space right now is Stanley (IYKYK), that’s right, the giant tumbler that’s viral status and unbelievable demand sees it remain as the most sought-after project with social fans in 2024. Introducing a ‘Galentine’s range’ that includes new color ways and a heart added to the classic logo, the cups are priced between $20-$45 but are reselling on eBay for over $200!!!! Showing it doesn’t necessarily need much in the way of innovation to provide audiences with a new joyful distraction.


But what about the other factors at play when it comes to current trends that are influencing consumer spending? Well, while joyful distraction seems to manifest most strongly for this short-lived season, we can see brands leaning into some of the other spaces our report identified.

For example, recognising the short and sweet nature of many of the items traditionally gifted this year, and arguably therefore the potential for little longevity and use, Lego offer a more sustainable and value driven approach to gifting with their Valentines Day range that allows consumers to ‘Build Love that lasts’ as a ‘reminder of the love you share long after the chocolate and non-brick flowers are gone’ – a contemporary play on value and longer lasting gifting that perfectly reflects consumer mindsets in 2024 (see our ‘Value Complexity trend for more info’).


And finally, when it comes to spend itself, trusted transactions, honesty, transparency and who we seek guidance from is being transformed as we navigate our spending through 2024 and beyond and two recent brand campaigns for Valentine’s Day lean into these mindsets in new and unexpected ways.

Firstly, understanding the financial mood of the nation, Klarna’s lead messaging in the weeks leading up to February 14th encourages consumers to be ‘Better than flowers – Get them something they really want’ by offering their flexible payment options as a solution to Valentines Day spending. Again, driving the idea of focusing on value for the recipient with the trust in Klarna as a well-established partner in the payment plan space.

Last, but not least, we know that where and how we discover, engage with and build trust with brands is shifting beyond the impact of classic ‘influencers’.

brand collaborations and new partnerships can be used to create new opportunities to explore new products or categories

Perhaps the most unexpected Valentine’s Day discovery is the collaboration between Ann Summers and Deliveroo which will offer consumers in select cities quick, easy, seamless access to a range of key sexual wellness products ordered and delivered through the app they already know, trust and, hopefully, love.

Loving it was red…

Whether buying for a loved one, a bestie or yourself, it seems Valentine’s Day this year is projected to be a success for various brands and retailers. While we await figures around actual performance, we anticipate that those leaning into the increasingly broad and inclusive nature of the celebration (and tap into some of these micro trends) will be more likely to feel the love this year. We’ll be keeping our eyes out for their performance and how else other brands and retailers lean into the season! In the meantime, you can check out more detail of our ‘Cost of Living report 2024’ and let us know which brands you think are tapping into these spaces!

Happy Valentines Day!