Valentine’s Day Draws Shoppers Online

More than 11 million Americans will make a Valentine’s Day purchase online this year, according to a survey by Ernst & Young, and electronic greeting will be as popular as ever.

Demographics of Online
Valentine Shoppers
Male 59%
Female 41%
Married 61%
Age 25 or
Age 26-29 11%
Age 30-39 28%
Age 40-49 31%
Over age 50 20%
Household income
Household income
Household income
Household income
Household income
Have children 62%
Source: Ernst & Young

Married men (64 percent) will be the primary online purchasers of Valentine’s gifts online, the study found. In addition, while the majority (59 percent) of Valentine’s Day online purchasers are between the ages of 30-49, one-fifth of online purchasers are over 50 years old.

According to the study, 38 percent of those who plan to shop online for Valentine’s Day have previously purchased fragrances and cosmetics on the Internet, while 29 percent have previously purchased flowers. Ernst & Young expects these, along with jewelry and e-greetings, to be consumers’ favorite online purchasing categories this Valentine’s Day.

“Consumers will be flocking to the Internet for Valentine’s Day this year as either a way to buy a gift for a loved one or as a way to send a gift,” said Stephanie Shern, Global Director of Retail & Consumer Products for Ernst & Young. “Whether you’re buying fragrances, flowers, candy, or even sending e-greetings, the Internet is a terrific way to do your shopping online in a very convenient way.”

According to NPD Online Research, two-thirds of Internet users surveyed plan to send electronic greeting cards this Valentine’s Day. While intentions are typically higher than actual behavior, this number is up from 55 percent who intended to send electronic Valentine’s Day cards in 1999.

The surge in e-commerce and the rising popularity of electronic cards does not seem to threaten traditional Valentine’s Day gift channels, NPD found. Seventy percent of the respondents say they plan to purchase traditional greeting cards for their Valentines. Seventy-nine percent of those who plan to send an e-greeting say they will also purchase a traditional greeting card. Of those who intend to send an e-card and purchase a traditional greeting card, 87 percent plan to buy a card in a retail store. is likely to capture the greatest share of Valentine’s Day e-greeting traffic, according to NPD’s research. Seventy-five percent of those who plan to send electronic Valentines claim they will use either or, up from 63 percent in 1999. Next most popular was e-greetings, where 17 percent of respondents who plan to send e-cards say they will go.

Valentine’s Day gift purchasing is also going digital. While retail stores remain the top choice of NPD’s respondents for planned purchases, they are also using the Web.

NPD’s Valentine’s Day survey was conducted in January 2000, among 10,017 individuals from NPD’s Online Panel, a representative sample of people prerecruited to participate in surveys. Ernst & Young’s research is based on online surveys of more than 1,200 US consumers conducted in November 1999.

Valentine’s Day Shopping by Channel
Gift Retail
Internet Other
Flowers 64% 21% 15%
93% 5% 2%
Stuffed Animals 89% 8% 3%
Source: NPD Online Research

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