From bouquets of flowers through chocolates to high-end jewelry, cultural norms dictate that nothing says ‘I love you’ more on Valentine’s day than gifts. Backed by the largest data panel in the industry, we decided to look into how America gets ready for this festive day. Read on for our data-driven findings.

The Spontaneity of Valentine’s Shopping

We analyzed Americans’ Valentine’s gift searches on Amazon between January 1st and February 14th, 2016 to identify consumer search trends and see if they fall in line with the gift-giving norm. We quickly identified a large increase in the amount of daily Valentine’s gift searchers between February 1st and February 12th of 2016. In fact, the average daily unique search count during this period was 4.4 times that of January. This finding suggests that Valentine’s gift shopping is more spontaneous in nature, as most of the search activity occurs in the ten days leading up to the holiday.

Now that we understand the nature of Valentine’s Day shopping it’s time to look into the consumers driving this shopping frenzy.

The Valentine’s Shoppers

By analyzing consumer demographic data for Valentine’s day searchers on Amazon we find that women account for a whooping 77 percent of the unique searchers. East coasters are 22 percent more likely to search for Valentine’s gifts, with residents of Maine leading this trend with 70 percent more searchers than the national average. The data also indicates that Millennials aren’t big on Valentine’s Day, as their search activity is half that of the general population.

Difference in V-Day gift search activity by age-group

As for the search queries themselves, it seems that people don’t really have a concrete gift in mind and tend to use generic search phrases the likes of ‘Valentine’s day gifts for him’.

The Valentine’s Gift Search

Amazon’s on-site search queries indicate that people tend to use generic keywords when Valentine’s Day gift shopping. All of the ten leading search phrases were generic, with ‘Valentine’s Day’ capturing nearly 42 percent of the total Valentine’s search activity. This searching behavior suggests that consumers are looking for inspiration in their search for the perfect gift.

Top 10 Valentine's Day keywords on Amazon

Bottom Line: If search behavior reflects intent, on-site searches on e-commerce platforms suggest purchases. By analyzing Amazon’s site search for Valentine’s Day gifts we discover that the main driving force behind this shopping trend are women between the age of 35 and 54. Advertisers and e-commerce marketers alike can both benefit from this tidbit, because the more you know about your target the better your chances to convert them into paying customers.