George Prout examines a disappointing Valentine’s Day
Reports from all over the country are confirming disappointing numbers for the Valentine’s Day gift giving period, measured by total sales. Key takeaways include:
- Higher ticket items weren’t selling.
- Engagement ring sales were disappointing.
- The majors numbers are a DISASTER! Be ready to see some incredibly poor numbers when they report their sales.
- A recent post on the Jewelers Helping Jewelers Facebook page asked the question, “How was Valentine’s Day?”, and the vast majority of responses were essentially, “There was no Valentine’s Day.”
To summarize, if you weren’t promoting pretty heavily, the Valentine’s Day gift giving period was not much better than a similar period in August.
So, what the heck is going on???
1) We appear to be seeing a further erosion in general consumer interest for higher ticket items. Many independent jewelers complained that higher ticket sales didn’t happen at Christmas, and I’m really starting to wonder if a shift is occurring in general consumer preferences regarding jewelry, as “heirloom” purchases are declining, and “accessories” purchases are increasing.
2) Affluent men are generally no longer making Valentine’s Day jewelry purchases, and there appears to be NOTHING that you can do with advertising to change that.
3) The critical price point for Valentine’s Day is $99. Yes, that is not a traditionally important price point in independent jewelry stores. But it IS where the price point needle has gone for Valentine’s Day.
4) The selling cycle for engagement rings is now too long to allow men to start the process of shopping for an engagement ring in February and buy it within 14 days, which is reducing diamond sales for the month.
5) Without an advertising “hook”, it’s very hard to generate traffic.
What metrics should you use for Valentine’s Day, in an environment that was clearly down? Look to two categories:
1) Total transaction counts
2) Total new customers added to your customer database
Valentine’s Day continues to offer the best opportunity during the year to start a dialogue with pre-bridal males, so plan your 2018 Valentine’s Day promotion with that in mind. Consumers are providing specific kinds of opportunities to us, and we benefit most when we allocate resources to accommodate when, and what, they want to buy. And most importantly, success requires an OMNICHANNEL advertising approach. Retailers who had a powerful message (Flowers, candy, and dinner out at a really nice restaurant continues to be highly motivational), and who distributed the message through multiple media channels experienced the best response.
So, was it really a “Lost Holiday”? Not for proactive stores who offered extreme value, and whose value message cut through the noise. Make sure your offer is powerful, and your delivery vehicle gets it to the target, and you’ll acquire the bridal customers needed to make the sales you’ll need during the subsequent 10 ½ months.