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Huge Increase in Online Valentines Day Gift Purchases

( - April 9, 2004) According to a comScore Networks analysis of consumer behavior related to Valentine’s Day, 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.”

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.

Best Valentines Day Gifts
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.

Most Frequent Valentines Day Activity
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.

Other Findings

> 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.

> 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 wait until the last minute to buy their Valentine’s Day gift.

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