How much is Valentine’s Day worth to UK business?

February has commonly been associated as the month of romance across the world, with the 14th – Valentine’s Day – being named after the patron saint, St. Valentine. Synonymously associated with a day of gift-giving, romantic getaways and spending time with your loved one, this celebration has evolved over time and now a great deal of marketing is involved, to the point where many businesses rely on this consumer holiday year in year out.

The effect Valentine’s Day has on the UK economy

Interestingly, the earliest known surviving Valentine’s note dates back to 1415, in which a captured French Duke refers to his wife as ‘my very sweet Valentine’.

Fast-forward to today, and Valentine’s Day is celebrated by the masses across the UK with just over three-quarters of the nation taking part in 2021 and the average spend per person being £23, totalling £926m. When you take this into account, it is clear to see why it has such a large impact on businesses in all sectors, from retail to hospitality and even travel and tourism.

The benefits Valentine’s Day brings to the Travel and Tourism sector

Brits all across the UK love to spend time with their loved ones and what better way than a romantic getaway for two.

With Brits spending £267m on romantic weekend breaks in 2019, holidaymakers such as TUI offer short breaks from £150pp, which is ideal for those who don’t have much annual leave and want a break away to show their loved ones they care.

When we arrived in 2020, the fear of contracting COVID-19 from travelling and socialising with people was at an all-time high, whilst the travel and tourism industry was hit hard and is still struggling to recover. However, more than 70% of bookings starting Feb 13th in 2021 were made for couple-friendly hotels. Aiding to the recovery for this sector, Valentine’s Day can be seen to have a significant impact on the Briton’s decision-making process.

With £40bn set to be spent on holidays abroad in 2022, we envisage romantic trips for Valentine’s Day

The art of greeting cards, gift-giving, and romantic evenings are synonymous with Valentine’s Day

In addition to going away, the commercial aspect of the celebrations also seems to be increasing each year, with the giving of flowers, jewellery, cuddly toys and chocolate being expected to accompany the traditional St. Valentine’s Day Card. Of which, according to the Greeting Card Association annual report, in 2020, 18 million greeting cards were sold around the Valentine’s Day period, totally a whopping £47m for greetings card retailers alone throughout the UK.

Moreover, many couples will be going out for meals together to celebrate the ever-growing commercial holiday and statistics show that in 2019, a romantic evening out was the most expensive present, costing roughly £391m.

Self-love and appreciation

However, holidays are meant to be inclusive and not everyone has to be in a relationship to take part. This is reinforced by a survey undertaken by Finder, proving that it’s not just couples making the most of the loving consumer holiday that is Valentine’s Day, with 25% of British people opting to treat themselves in 2021 on personal gifts for themselves, takeaways in and even board games to play with friends.

Overall, 25% may not seem like a lot, but this fraction of people make up a large portion of the spending that happens over Valentine’s Day, equating to a total spending of £155m across the country.

An all-inclusive commercial holiday

Valentine’s Day is a time for showing love and affection and everyone should be able to take part in their own way. Building on this point in a slightly different manner, it can be observed that it’s not just humans that receive a degree of affection over the loving holiday period.

With the British public living up to their reputation as animal lovers, a spending report from American Express in 2018 revealed that one in five people will buy a gift for their pet this Valentine’s Day, with an average spend of £5, totalling £27m!

Valentine’s Day 2022 – a Monday Valentines

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, and Gordon Fletcher, a retail expert at the University of Salford Business School, tells us what this means.

He comments: “Having Valentine’s Day fall on Monday is the eleven-year event that always helps to reconfirm the cliches about wilted flowers belatedly bought at garages across the country. Invariably, a Monday celebration is a lower-key affair.

“While some restaurants and cafes have promoted offers to encourage romantic dining, others have chosen to maintain their routines and stayed closed this Monday. The media has focused on the love stories of footballers, what it means to be single today, and even a noticeably anti-commercial trend in their reporting Valentine’s Day.

“A Monday Valentine’s Day neatly captures the uncertainty and diversity of opinion of the times. For some, any excuse to celebrate is to be embraced enthusiastically. While others are still taking fully masked tentative steps to a distantly remembered normality.

“For shops of all sizes, Valentine’s Day marks an important point in the retail calendar. Some of the more ambitious retailers have had a dedicated seasonal festive chocolate and sweets bay on display since Christmas. But now comes the final push to sell eggs and rabbit-shaped items. Only one month left until Easter.”

The economy loves Valentine’s Day

It can be seen that us Brits love getting together to appreciate one another and share moments of joy over this commercial holiday. Alone or coupled up, as humans we all understand the levels of care that we deserve and the importance of taking a moment along the year to care about what matters most to us in our lives.

Working in symmetry with public spending, the effect this holiday has on the economy is substantial to say the least and many sectors would suffer without this annual moment of affection.