Valentine’s Day Pulls at Heart Strings and Purse Strings Alike, Reports Comscore Networks

Online Spending on Key Gift Categories Leaps Nearly 50 Percent versus 2003

Reston, Va., Feb. 13, 2004 – Comscore Networks, the leader in the use of the Internet to measure and understand consumer behavior, today released an analysis of consumer behavior related to Valentine’s Day. The Comscore analysis found that total online spending in the Flowers & Gifts, Jewelry & Watches and Health & Beauty categories leapt 49 percent in the ten days ending February 11, 2004 versus the corresponding period in 2003. Comscore also reported the results of survey of U.S. consumers’ preferences, attitudes and intentions related to the holiday.

Americans Looking for Romance Offline Find Gifts Online
A late-breaking analysis of consumer spending in key Valentine’s Day gift categories reveals spending is up an impressive 49 percent versus 2003. While the Flowers & Gifts category is likely to peak in the last two days prior to Valentine’s Day, sales in the ten days ending February 11 had already totaled $91 million, up an impressive 56 percent versus 2002. Jewelry & Watches, which posted strong growth rates throughout much of 2003, saw growth of more than 62 percent during this year’s pre-Valentine’s Day period.

“Last year, the three weeks ending on Valentine’s Day accounted for a full 12 percent of the year’s online spending in the Flowers & Gifts category -- a seasonal peak that’s expected and pronounced across channels,” said Dan Hess, senior vice president of Comscore Networks. “This year’s growth rates are an encouraging sign for retailers in ‘gifting’ categories thus far, and consumers will continue to buy some products – such as flowers – virtually until the last minute.”

Online Consumer Spending
(excluding Auctions)
Source: Comscore Networks
($ Millions)
  10 Days Ending
Feb. 11, 2003
10 Days Ending
Feb. 11, 2004
% Change
Flowers & Gifts  $58  $91 56%
Health & Beauty  $37  $47 27%
Jewelry & Watches  $31  $50 62%
Total of Three Categories  $126  $188 49%

Comscore Survey: Surprise! Men and Women Agree that Valentine’s Day is Overrated
A Comscore survey of American consumers conducted between February 10 and February 12, 2004 revealed that fully 50 percent of male respondents believe Valentine’s Day gets too much attention. While female respondents were more likely to report that Valentine’s Day gets the right amount of attention, 41 percent agreed that there’s too much hype surrounding Valentine’s Day.

Question: Does Valentine’s Day get too much attention?
Source: Comscore Survey Solutions
February 2004
  Males Females
Valentine’s Day gets too much attention 50% 41%
Valentine’s Day gets the right amount of attention 40% 50%
Valentine’s Day gets too little attention 10% 9%

Those still searching for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift may be relieved to find that the obvious choices are frequently the favorites. When asked to select the top three gifts they would like to receive for Valentine’s Day, 47 percent of females chose flowers, making it the favorite gift among women. Those with more generous budgets, be advised: the second and third ranked gifts among women were jewelry and spa treatments. Among male respondents, music was the top ranked gift. Always the romantics, 24 percent of male respondents chose consumer electronics as a preferred Valentine’s Day gift.

Preferred Valentine’s Day Gifts
Percentage of Respondents Ranking Gifts Among Top Three Choices
Source: Comscore Survey Solutions
February 2004
Females     Males  
Flowers 47%   Music 33%
Jewelry/Watches 32%   Consumer Electronics 24%
Massage or other spa treatments 28%   Travel 24%
Candy & other food gifts 23%   Candy & other food gifts 24%
Perfume/Cologne 21%   Jewelry/Watches 23%

Men Plan to Spend More on Valentine’s Day Gifts
Despite feelings among many men that the holiday receives too much attention, men will still outspend women on Valentine’s Day gifts if respondents’ plans are any indication. While the most popular single range of planned spending among both men and women was $0–$50, half of male respondents reported that they planned to spend more than $50. By contrast, nearly 70 percent of women reported they planned to spend $50 or less.

Question: How much do you plan to spend on Valentine’s Day gifts?
Source: Comscore Survey Solutions
February 2004
  Males Females
$0 - $50 50% 68%
$51 - $100 29% 22%
More than $100 21% 10%

Dinner and a Movie: Perennial Favorites Still Reign Supreme
In a resounding vote of confidence for America’s chefs and restaurateurs, 59 percent of Comscore survey respondents picked eating out as one of their top three Valentine’s Day activities. A “quiet evening at home” was the second-ranked choice with 35 percent, while movies were a close third with 32 percent of respondents choosing this option. In a rare moment of agreement, men and women ranked Valentine’s Day activities in nearly identical order.

Preferred Valentine’s Day Activities
Percentage of Respondents Ranking Activity as a Top Three Choice
Source: Comscore Survey Solutions
February 2004
Dinner at restaurant 59%
Quiet evening at home 35%
Go to movies 32%
Dinner at home 23%
Travel 22%
Family activities 20%
Go to bar or nightclub 19%
Socialize with friends 18%
Spa activities 16%
Nothing out of the ordinary 13%

Interestingly, Comscore’s survey reveals heartwarming generosity, but also predicts a tug of war brewing at many restaurant tables this year. While 87 percent of male respondents plan to grab the dinner check on Valentine’s Day, 60 percent of women seem to think they will pick up at least part of the tab.

Question: Who will be paying for your Valentine’s Day activities?
Source: Comscore Survey Solutions
February 2004
  Males Females
I will pay 87% 41%
My date or significant other will pay 7% 42%
I will split with my date or significant other 6% 18%

Other interesting findings from Comscore’s Valentine’s Day survey included:

  • While women are less likely than men to say they’ll give a Valentine’s Day gift to their significant other, they are much more likely than men to report they’ll give presents to parents, grandparents or children.
  • Twenty-four percent of Valentine’s Day shoppers say they plan to buy online this year.
  • Men and women agree (70 percent of men vs. 78 percent of women) that Valentine’s Day is geared more towards women than men.
  • Twenty-eight percent of shoppers say they’ll wait until the last minute to buy their Valentine’s Day gift.

Nearly 30 Million Americans Visit Flowers, Gifts & Greetings Sites
In January, more than 29 million Americans visited sites in the Flower, Gifts & Greetings category, a number sure to increase in February. The category is led by well-known offline brands American Greetings, with 13 million unique visitors, and Hallmark, with 6 million unique visitors.

Flowers, Gifts & Greetings Category
Unique Visitors (000)
January 2004
U.S. Home, Work & University Locations
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  All Locations
Home(000) Work(000) University(000)
Total Internet Users 152,443 134,227 50,238 10,336
Flowers, Gifts & Greetings Category 29,369 20,031 9,281 1,769
AmericanGreetings Property 13,421 9,285 3,428 1,081
Hallmark 6,011 4,107 1,806 282
1-800-FLOWERS.COM 1,701 1,050 646 98
ORIENTALTRADING.COM 1,459 800 707 34
Martha Stewart Sites 1,235 844 419 37
REDENVELOPE.COM 1,190 690 512 55
LILLIANVERNON.COM 943 602 362 30
FTD.COM 883 580 316 34
WILLIAMS-SONOMA.COM 858 371 501 34

About Comscore Networks
Comscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior. This capability is based on a representative cross-section of more than 1.5 million global Internet users who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their Web-wide browsing, buying and other transaction behavior, including offline purchasing. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across the entire spectrum of surfing and buying behavior. This deep knowledge of customers and competitors helps clients design more powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, The Newspaper Association of America, Knight Ridder Digital, Best Buy, Verizon, Nestlé, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz. For more information, please visit

Andrew Lipsman
Comscore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510


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