Over 50% of Americans say they celebrate the day, down 13% since Y 2009, according to the National Retail Federation.
Consumers in are increasingly marking 14 February by spending money on their friends in addition to their sweethearts.
Spending on friends will increase to almost $15 this year, more than 2X the level in Y 2017, an NRF survey found.
People “want to celebrate everyone they care about and not just their significant other,” said the senior director of industry and consumer insights at the NRF.
Recently, retailers have pounced on the Galintine’s Day phenom with savvy marketing. There are Galentine gifts guides on sites including Amazon and Etsy. On Etsy, a search on Galentine brings up 22,000 items, including brunch invitations and balloons.
Hallmark offers more than 12 Galentine’s Day cards, and also sells more than 50 cards designed to celebrate non-romantic relationships. This year it has shifted its Valentine’s Day marketing to the theme of friendship, with a TV commercial telling the story of a teenage girl who is being cyber-bullied, but has her spirits lifted by a card from her BFF.
Some brands and retailers, like cosmetics company Jill Stuart and running shoemaker Brooks are hosting pop-ups and parties for shoppers to attract new customers, according to Eventbrite, which runs an online platform that lets people create, organize and promote gathering.
And it is not just retailers who are seizing on opportunities to bolster business.
Chicago restaurant Eden offers brunch and dinner specials on Feb. 13 dedicated to “ladies celebrating ladies.”
Chicago Period Project, an organization that supports women’s health, is hosting its third annual Galentine’s Day event at a local bar, including drink specials, arcade games, a photo booth and products from local businesses.
Eventbrite says there are more than 1,300 Galentine events on its platform this year, about a 50% jump from last year, encompassing craft workshops, comedy nights and charity events.
“People who don’t want to be alone on the holiday are looking for ways to gather and be around others,” said a shopping and trends specialist at digital-coupon provider RetailMeNot. “In most cases that means spending money.”
Americans under 45 anni are fueling the trend. Those 35 to 44 are the the biggest spenders spending $33.33 on average, according to the NRF. Meanwhile, the 18-34 crowd is also in the mix, with more than 33% saying they plan to spend on their friends.
The trend is not for everyone. Consumers who have chosen not to spend money on their significant other aren’t suddenly about to dole out gifts to their friends, the NRF said.
“Those who don’t care, do not want anything to do with it,” it said.
But marketers are even trying to lure that group with “anti-Valentine” cards and gifts, 1 bestseller on Etsy’s website has this greeting: “Happy consumer-driven and trivial interpretation of love day.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!