A 25% increase in Valentine’s Day sales is expected

Rising prices, along with more consumers buying online will help push total North American sales (offline and online) for all goods and services for Valentine’s Day 2001 to $2 billion this year, a 25% increase over last year’s revenue, according to a report released Tuesday by the Gartner Group, Inc. In 2000, Valentine’s sales totaled $1.5 billion.

The report states that key reasons for the increased spending this year are across-the-board higher prices and a larger and more-mature online market. Gartner estimates that the online market has increased by more than 16 million users in North America from 2000 to 2001. More mature Internet users also purchase in greater amounts than first-year users. Valentine’s retailers have also added gourmet foods, spirits and gifts to the traditional revenue producing goods such as chocolate and flowers.

Marketers are not radically changing their strategy this holiday to target a different audience than their typical buyer, Gartner reports. Hallmark targets 39-year-old females with more than $50,000 in income and a college education. Proflowers.com targets women from 25 to 50 who make more than $80,000 a year. Neither retailer typically targets males from 18 to 50.

Hallmark and Proflowers.com told Gartner that the Valentine’s holiday is the one time of the year that males buy flowers and gifts in quantity. For the remainder of the year recurring sales come from their core female audience and that’s where their marketing efforts are placed, according to the report.

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