Love, economics and locally grown flowers are in the air
toOh wins everyone. But it also allows for changing consumer behavior. The Covid-19 pandemic, cost of living pressures and even Brexit have changed the way Britons approach Valentine’s Day, the annual celebration of romance/chance for a heated argument with your partner.
Lovely Brits are more likely to stay on February 14 than they were a few years ago due to tighter budgets and hybrid lifestyles. On average, consumers now spend an additional 66 minutes at home each day compared to the pre-lockdown era. On Valentine’s Day last year, just over 8 million people used London’s bus and tube network, about 22% fewer than they did on the same day in 2020. Spending at restaurants fell by 11.6% in January year-on-year.
Those couples who decided to eat out on Valentine’s Day this year have more options than they did before the coronavirus. Some restaurants are now offering their own specials DIY Meal kits, delivering ingredients and recipes for chef-prepared meals directly to guests’ homes. A wealth of pandemic startups have abandoned brick and mortar altogether. YHangry, an online platform, allows users to hire private chefs to serve a restaurant-style meal at home.
Singulars can also be home objects. The period between Christmas and Valentine’s Day is peak season for dating apps: matches between Tinder users globally were 10% higher than usual in the run-up to February 14 last year. But some of these matches are choosing virtual dates. About 6% of those surveyed in Britain will meet a romantic online on Valentine’s Day this year, slightly more than in Europe, a poll by research firm GlobalWebIndex has shown.
Economy will influence the choice of gifts. About 43% of Britons are currently tightening their belts, according to a survey by Barclays, a British bank. Half of those planning to buy flowers on February 14 intend to skip the florist and pick them up at the supermarket instead.
The flowers they buy change. Brexit-related border checks that began on January 31 are making importing flowers more difficult this year, and when demand is time-sensitive, any delay could be disastrous. Some florists were already moving away from red roses and opting for local flowers like snowdrops or tulips instead. “Valentine’s Day creates an unnecessary spike in demand for red roses, which quickly declines the next day, leading to high levels of waste,” says Aaron Gelbard. CEO and founder of Bloom and Wild, an online flower delivery service. “We stopped selling them in 2021.” ■