Valentine's Day Advertising Must Reach Shoppers Ready To Take Action

Valentine’s Day is a significant holiday for ecommerce brands hoping to reach consumers in the mood for love – and shopping. Digital Media Solutions® surveyed 250 adults in early January and found that gift-giving has extended beyond just couples. However, there are notable differences between who is doing the buying and how much they are spending. 

Women Are The Most Likely To Purchase Gifts For Nearly All Recipient Categories

Although Valentine’s Day gift giving has extended away from just spouses and partners, most of the buying – no matter the recipient category, including spouse/partner, kids/kids’ friends, self, pets, co-workers/friends and teachers – is being done by women. Valentine’s Day advertising campaigns must consider audience objectives. Female audiences align with all gift giving categories. But, if you’re targeting the men, it’s probably best to keep the focus on spouse and partner recipients. 

Here are three takeaways from the DMS Valentine’s Day Survey:

1. Young women are the most likely group to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts for themselves.

Although only 8% of those surveyed said they plan to buy Valentine’s Day gifts for themselves this year, 44% of women ages 18-24 are planning to treat themselves.

2. Women are buying most of the Valentine’s Day presents for kids, kids’ friends and pets.

33% of survey respondents said they will be buying for their kids or their kids’ friends. This percentage was slightly higher (46%) among women. Just like at Christmas, women tend to be the gender handling the bulk of “family gift buying.” Similarly, although only 8% of people are planning to buy for their pets this Valentine’s Day, the percent of women planning to buy pet gifts was slightly higher at 10%. 

3. Most Valentine’s Day gift-givers are not buying for friends and coworkers.

Only 7% of those surveyed plan to buy gifts for friends and coworkers.


Women Might Buy More Gifts, But The DMS Valentine’s Day Survey Found That Men Spend More During Valentine’s Day

According to the DMS Valentine’s Day Survey, men plan to spend $26-50 and women plan to spend $0-25 on Valentine’s gifts. For men ages 35-44, the Valentine’s Day budget increases to $51-250 dollars. For luxury brands, Valentine’s Day advertising that targets men, particularly men over 35, may be more likely to drive a conversion.


All Gift-Giving Is Not The Same On Valentine’s Day, With Men Going For The Gold

As reflected throughout the DMS Valentine’s Day Survey, men and women do not approach Valentine’s Day the same way. Men seem to focus more on higher-priced items for their significant others and women appear more interested in giving smaller gifts to a longer list of people (and animals).

Both Men & Women Buy Valentine’s Day Cards

40% of those surveyed plan to buy cards, with men and women relatively close in the category at 34% and 46% respectively. Cards are the most commonly given gift from women, according to the DMS Valentine’s Day Survey.

Flowers Are A Top Valentine’s Day Gift From Most Male Age Groups

32% of everyone surveyed plan to purchase flower gifts this Valentine’s Day. Not surprisingly, more men (40%) plan to buy flowers than women (24%). Flowers are the most commonly given gift from men of all ages except 35-44 and 65+. For women, ages 45-54 are the most likely to purchase flowers.

Food Is A Popular Valentine’s Day Gift From Women

32% of those surveyed plan to give food gifts this Valentine’s Day, but women are much more likely than men to give food gifts. Food was the second most commonly given gift from women, with 41% of women in this category planning to give food, compared to just 23% of men.

Jewelry Is Most Commonly Gifted By Men

Only 24% of those surveyed plan to give jewelry this Valentine’s Day, but it was the most popular gift giving category for men ages 35-44 and 65+. Across all age groups, 37% of men and just 10% of women plan to give jewelry. We know from the survey results that men spend more money on Valentine’s Day than women — this is one area where they are spending it.

Toys Are Most Commonly Gifted By Women On Valentine’s Day

Only 22% of people surveyed, including 33% of women and 10% of men, plan to give toys for Valentine’s Day. Considering women are typically the ones buying for kids and pets, this breakdown isn’t surprising.

Lingerie Is The Least-Gifted Valentine’s Day Category 

Just 13% of Valentine’s Day gift givers plan to buy lingerie this year, including 10% of women and 15% of men. 


Consumers Start Shopping In January. Don’t Let Your Valentine’s Day Advertising Wait For February! 

While there is likely some truth to the frazzled spouse dashing into the drugstore to pick up chocolates and cards at the last minute on Valentine’s Day, the DMS Valentine’s Day Survey found that 25% of respondents plan to purchase in January. And, while 55% plan to purchase in February, Valentine’s Day advertising that kicks off in January builds top-of-mind brand awareness along with sales from the early shoppers.


Here are three tips to get your Valentine’s Day advertising designed for success.

1. Engage your audience early and often. Email marketing is a great channel for high-frequency efforts, but sometimes the reach of email marketing can suffer as email lists get stale. Make sure your list is ready for the Valentine’s Day promotions by building your email subscriber database. Contact DMS to learn how.

2. De-risk your media spend while you broaden your reach with CPA campaigns targeting partner audiences across email, social, listicles and more. Contact DMS to learn whether a branded or unbranded CPA campaign can deliver you the best Valentine’s Day results.

3. Re-engage your website visitors based on the products they’ve researched, and make sure you bring back all those cart abandoners! Aimtell is a SaaS re-engagement technology that helps you easily subscribe website visitors to receive push notifications. You can launch Aimtell today for free by clicking here.

Seeking New Ways To Maximize Your Customer Acquisition Efforts?

Digital Media Solutions® is ready to help you find new digital performance advertising solutions to scale success. DMS creates people-based advertising campaigns, leveraging our first-party data asset, proprietary technology and expansive media reach to define and engage highly targeted audiences, attracting the consumers with the greatest likelihood to convert. Contact DMS today!

About the author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of technology-enabled digital performance advertising solutions connecting consumers and advertisers within auto, home, health and life insurance plus a long list of top consumer verticals. The DMS first-party data asset, proprietary advertising technology, significant proprietary media distribution and data-driven processes help digital advertising clients de-risk their advertising spend while scaling their customer bases. Learn more at