Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like a box of chocolates. Known as an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs, the gift of chocolate has been connected to expressions of love and affection for hundreds of years. In addition to its romantic associations, chocolate has long been known to help induce feelings of calmness, contentment and act as an overall mood booster. According to global confectionery website Candyindustry.com, Valentine’s Day is the third best performing day for chocolate sales, representing nearly a quarter of all U.S. chocolate sales each year. In 2020, the National Retail Federation (NRF) projected Americans would spend $2.4 billion on candy related to Valentine’s Day purchases.
Brands are positioning themselves with consumers looking for gifts that offer comfort and connection, as Americans continue to endure the isolating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Major candy brands including Reese’s, Dove, Hershey’s and Ferraro are debuting new products and advertising strategies to get in front of consumers early and often as Valentine’s Day approaches.
Heart-Shaped Boxes Take A Back Seat As Chocolate Brands Promote Non-Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifting
In the last decade, Valentine’s Day giving has advanced beyond romantic sentiments, evolving to represent all forms of affection and kinship. From 2010 to 2020, Valentine’s Day spending dramatically increased as gift recipients expanded to represent more than spouses, love-interests and significant others. According to data from the NRF, consumers are spending more money on Valentine’s Day related gifts in expressions of non-romantic affection for friends, family members, co-workers and even pets. While flowers, jewelry and lingerie may be traditional Valentine’s gift classics, chocolate could be the perfect way to show thoughtfulness, appreciation and friendship. Chocolate remains a top gift choice among consumers, because of its price point, accessibility and nearly universal appeal. Reese’s and Dove have both introduced new products that move away from the traditional heart-shaped box and encourage consumers to celebrate Valentine’s Day with everyone in their lives.
Reese’s Starts Promoting Valentine's Day Line Up After Christmas
Hershey’s quickly shifted its focus from the holiday season, announcing Reese’s product line up for Valentine’s Day and Easter on December 28. Leading the Reese’s Valentine’s Day line up is the Reese’s Big Box O’ Love, an alternative to the classic heart shaped box of chocolate. Erin Crawford, Hershey’s brand manager, holiday, said, “Whether you are a hopeless romantic or a last-minute Cupid, these new offerings are the perfect treat to make Valentine’s Day extra special.” Instead of opting for an assorted variety, Reese’s Big Box O’Love contains 20 classic Reese’s peanut butter cups providing all of the sweetness without needing a map.
Dove Launches Pink Tube As Ideal Non-Romantic Valentine’s Day Gift
This week, Mars-owned Dove introduced new packaging to align with the brand’s Valentine's Day marketing push. Instead of the traditional red heart-shaped box, Dove announced it’s Truffle Gift Tubes. The limited-time Dove Truffle Gift Tubes can be filled with milk or dark chocolate truffles and will be packaged in pink keepsake tubes. Dove’s newest item caters to consumers broadening their Valentine's Day gift recipients. Brand director for Dove Chocolate Leslie Philipsen said, “[Dove] wanted to provide fans with an easy way to gift delicious, high-quality chocolate to all the important people in their lives. Wrapped in beautiful keepsake packaging and with a pre-written message included on the back, our new gifting products allow fans to easily spread cheer to friends, colleagues, and loved ones.”
Ferraro Appeals To All Audiences With Limited-Edition Valentine’s Day Product Line Up
In a recent press release, confectionery brand Ferraro (parent brand to well known chocolate brands like Ferrero Rocher, Butterfinger, Crunch and Kinder Joy), announced its 2021 Valentine’s Day product line up. In addition to its classic offerings, Ferraro is also promoting fun and festive offerings such as the Butterfinger and Crunch “Mustache and Lips Novelty Set.” According to the press release, “Whether you want to tell someone you have a “CRUNCH” on them, or you “MUSTACHE” them to be yours, these fun gifts will bring a smile to your Valentine's face.” As part of their larger Valentine’s Day advertising strategy, Ferraro also encouraged consumers to visit its Pinterest page, where users will find tips for incorporating Ferraro brand products into Valentine’s Day gifts and celebrations. The brand is also using shoppable pins to help Pinterest users quickly buy the products they need for their recipes and crafts.
Hershey’s Leverages Microsite To Encourage Consumers To Share The Love Three Ways
Hershey’s is giving consumers many ways to share the love and sweeten their Valentine’s Day this year. From inspired Hershey’s recipes for homemade sweet treats to custom gift boxes shipped directly to loved ones, Hershey’s is helping consumers celebrate Valentine’s Day during the time of COVID-19. On its microsite, Hersheyshappiness.com, Hershey’s encourages consumers to bake desserts, send some love or make crafts this Valentine’s Day. The content of the microsite is clearly leveraging new consumer attitudes, habits and behaviors that were embraced in 2020. Many consumers are still likely to be cooking more and spending more time at home in addition to seeking affordable and accessible gift options. All three of the options promoted on Hersheyshappiness.com align with consumers’ need to add a personal touch to celebrations while establishing a sense of togetherness. Content marketing can be an effective tool for connecting consumers to a brand, creating a sense of trust and brand affinity.
The chocolate market is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.38% and hit a valuation of $127 million by 2025. While the chocolate industry is highly competitive, brands that offer consumers products that align with their evolving needs and connect to new values are likely to build and maintain customer loyalty from season to season. The new product lines introduced by Reese’s, Dove and Ferraro address how consumer expectations around Valentine’s Day have shifted over time. Hershey’s content marketing via it’s microsite provides consumers multiple solutions leveraging Hershey’s products that align with consumer behaviors adopted as a result of COVID-19. This Valentine’s Day, candy brands that can address new consumer shopping trends early and often are positioning themselves for success.
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