Alexa, When is Valentine’s Day?

 In Browsing, Shopping

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Show ‘em you care

With a gift or two!

Amazon has a strong market share for Valentine’s Day, working with several syndications offering affiliate compensation to promote sales and gift ideas for last-minute online shopping.  While Valentine’s Day was a few weeks ago, Americans take this Hallmark holiday seriously, spending on average almost $60 for those who celebrate the holiday. Analyzing the performance data gathered using Jumpshot’s Insights tool and data feeds from Jumpshot’s 100-million device panel, we outlined the gift purchase pattern on Amazon surrounding Valentine’s Day YoY, greeting card traffic with major retailers and compared Google paid clickthroughs for Valentine’s Day searches in the U.S. and U.K.

Let’s Shop Valentine’s Day Gifts

Applying Jumpshots’s data, we were able to follow purchases on Amazon, specifically those linked as gifts surrounding Valentine’s Day YoY, 2018-2019. The data reveals purchases for Valentine’s day gifts in 2018 peaked at 2.5% two days before the holiday. Gift givers took full advantage of the 2-day delivery options with Amazon Prime. Transactions on February 12, 2018, stretched to 114k, almost 65% above the average for the month for February 2018.  

In comparison, we saw similar spikes of gift purchases for Mother’s Day in 2018 with 2.7% and Father’s Day 2.3%. We predict similar purchase trends this year.

Many online retailers are beginning to see a large portion of the items bought online are meant as gifts. As a result, shoppers now have the ability to mark purchases as gifts when online shopping. This helps the general buying experience for the customer and allows the data from Jumpshot to specifically look at items that were purchased as presents. In 2018, gift purchases on February 14th, the actual date of the holiday, were low, approximately 68k, and the average for the month was just under 70k. Valentine’s Day was a negative 3% boost for the month of February.  This drop can be attributed to gift givers literally running out of time for last minute presents and as result, they turned to buy in-store for loved ones. While the peak is moderate, February 12th is a relatively small crest in comparison to the swell we saw 11 days prior to Christmas 2018 where purchases as gifts were at 7.4% on December 15. We foresee similar spikes this year with the Christmas 2019 season showing double the spike as Valentine’s Day this year.

While customers explored and browsed on Amazon’s website, the top searches February 12 through February 14 in 2018 included:  “Valentine’s Day gifts for her”, “laptops”, and “Valentine’s Day gifts for him”. This year “Valentine’s Day gifts for her” didn’t even make the top 10 list; “laptop” was at the peak of the index, “flowers” coming in at #8 and “Nintendo Switch” and the much-anticipated game “Fire Emblem: Three Houses” were both huge hits. Amazon launched the presale of the game scheduled to launch July of this year and search volume was out of control.

While consumers might have been clueless about what to give their loved ones, that didn’t stop the search for the ultimate gift.  Valentine’s Day is basically the Super Bowl of dating and for that special someone, if you forget the date or buy the wrong thing, it can be a deal breaker. For those who forgot the Hallmark holiday last year, many continued to shop on Amazon, with 59k transactions completed on the 15th of February. This was 16% below the average for the month and almost 50% less than the height of gift purchases on the 12th.

Greeting Card Traffic

American’s shop online a few days prior to the holiday to ensure gifts arrive by the 14th of February, but when it comes to greeting cards, this is a different story. Utilizing the analytics pillar from Jumpshot’s Insights, we observed Valentine’s Day card search traffic on eight various sites for 2018: 123greetings.com, Amazon, americangreetings.com, bluemountain.com, etsy.com, hallmark.com, hallmarkecards.com, and pinterest.com. “Valentine’s Day Card” searches, traffic climaxed, surprisingly, on Valentine’s Day. For the eight sites we examined, the total search volume was approximately  237k, this was 3x the search volume on February 13th and 8x the quantity on February 12th. The two domains that lead the group in search volume on Valentine’s Day was Blue Mountain with 49k followed by Pinterest that accounted for 44k of the search volume. Although Hallmark Cards had a slow start in the race, barely breaking 1k a few days before Valentine’s Day, the company saw a huge improvement in search quantity on the 14th jumping to just over 22k.

Paid Click Ads for Valentine’s Day: the U.S. and U.K.

Amazon has taken great strides to have its content number one when searching for Valentine’s Day related content. We looked at Google paid clickthroughs for Valentine’s Day Searches in the U.S and U.K for 2018 and 2019 monitoring the top 15 domains each year in driving paid traffic.

In general, paid clickthrough volume for Valentine’s Day searches in the U.S. outpaces the U.K. by roughly 5:1; this roughly matches the difference in population between the two countries. This was consistent in 2018 and 2019.

In 2018, among the 15 domains we looked at, Amazon drew 25% of paid clicks for Valentine’s Day Google searches in the U.S. In the U.K., however, it only drew 10% of Valentine’s Day paid clicks among the 15 domains studied. This year we found Amazon declined slightly in their share of paid clicks, drawing 23% of paid clicks among the set of domains for Valentine’s Day in the U.S., even while the volume increased year-over-year, growing from 252k in 2018 to 271k in 2019. The U.K. also saw a decline in share for Amazon, dropping to 8% of paid clicks. Similar to the U.S, Amazon in the U.K. saw an increase in paid click volume despite their loss of share, growing from 23k in 2018 to 30k in 2019.

Beyond Amazon, the U.S. and the U.K. have very different leaders and players in the paid Valentine’s Day click game. In 2018, the U.S. leaders included Amazon, Etsy at 12%, and Walmart at 10%. This year, Amazon and Etsy prevailed in the top two spots with Etsy improving 6% YoY. Walmart marked a 4% decline, dropping to 6% of the share. Target increased from 3% to 6% YoY growing from 34k clicks in 2018 to 77k clicks in 2019.

In the U.S., the leading website that pulled the highest count in paid viewer clicks in 2018 during February 8-14 was JibJab.com, a website that specializes in customizable eCards for an assortment of occasions. JibJab went from under 1k clicks at the start of February to over 30k the week of Valentine’s Day in 2018. This year, we observed shifts in the market. JibJab, Blue Moutain Cards and Berries.com were missing from the Google search paid click share, replaced by Kohl’s with 3%, Zazzle at 1% and the personalized gift book company, LoveBook, new to the scene, represented 2% and 18k. JibJab has taken a fall from grace from its success in the early 2000s and was missing from this year in the U.S. and in the U.K.

Last year in the U.K. was a big year for Moonpig, a huge eCommerce retailer in personalized gifts. Moonpig represented 15% of the paid click market and was the leader in the U.K. market. The company grew from 37k paid Valentine’s Day clicks in 2018 to 88k in 2019, owning 25% of the click volume and held tight to the number one spot. This year, struggling U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer was noticeably missing from the paid click volume data.  One retailer that was able to see success in both the U.S. and the U.K. was eBay who increased clicks year-over-year. In the U.S. eBay grew from 45k clicks in 2018 to 62k in 2019. For the U.K., eBay grew from 12k clicks in 2018 to 20k in 2019.

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