Valentine’s Day: Capitalizing On The $18 Billion Opportunity

February is here and it can only mean one thing: Valentine’s Day. While U.S. consumers are predicted to spend an average of $136.57, down from last year’s record-high of $146.84, total spending is still expected to reach $18.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.  

Valentine’s creates a huge opportunity for brands and retailers to capitalize on a sales event that ranks third among total seasonal event expenditures – and for which more than a quarter of all gifts (27%) are expected to be made online.

We look back on Valentine’s Day 2016 to identify the biggest winners in the Candy & Chocolate category on Amazon, and explore the critical pillars to success for brands hoping to maximize eCommerce sales this year.

Who were the big winners in 2016?

We analyzed Amazon.com’s top 100 best sellers in the Candy and Chocolate category for February 2016 (Profitero’s FastMovers reports monitor and benchmark Amazon’s top 100 best sellers across key categories) and found that 23 new products appeared in the Amazon FastMovers 100; 12 of these were Valentine’s-oriented products i.e. products that contain the word love, heart, Valentine’s etc, in the product title.

The best-selling candy and chocolate brands for the month were Hershey’s and Jelly Belly, however, Dove had the highest number of best sellers specific to Valentine’s (with five products), followed by Ferrero and Godiva which each had two best-selling products oriented to Valentine’s.

Best-Selling Candy and Chocolate Brands on Amazon.com, February 2016

Brand # of products # of Valentine’s-oriented products
Hershey’s 6 0
Jelly Belly 5 0
Dove 5 5
Ferrero 5 2
Lindt 3 0
M&Ms 3 0
Reese’s 3 1
Clif Bar 3 0
GODIVA 3 2
Kisses 3 1

Source: Amazon US FastMovers Candy & Chocolate Report, February 2016

Pricing in the Candy and Chocolate category was certainly dynamic during the month: Valentine’s products saw an average of 10 price changes and a higher average price than the rest of the category ($16.06 vs $12.44) – as Valentine shoppers bought higher-priced gift boxes.

Chocolate brands used Valentine’s-oriented words explicitly in their product titles to help drive sales: “Heart” and “Valentine’s” were the most commonly used words in the top 100 best sellers for the Candy and Chocolate category on Amazon.com in February 2016.

On Amazon UK, we saw similar trends: 35 new products appeared in the Amazon UK FastMovers 100 in the Chocolate category for the month, and 49% of those were specifically Valentine’s-oriented products.

Best-Selling Chocolate Brands on Amazon UK, February 2016

Brand # of products # of Valentine’s-oriented products
Cadbury 15 2
Lindt 8 2
Ferrero 8 3
Thorntons 6 0
Nakd 5 0

Source: Amazon UK FastMovers Chocolate Report, February 2016

What can confectionery brands do to maximize online Valentine’s Day sales this year?

We list the five key pillars to success for any confectionery brand:

1. Understand the basics of the confectionery category online

Monitor what your competitors are doing or who the category best sellers are. Profitero’s FastMovers reports are a great way to benchmark your products against the competition.

2. Drive discoverability through search

Be sure to optimize your product titles and descriptions with seasonal keywords such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day to catch seasonal ‘spearfishers’.

3. Maximize conversion through optimized product content

It’s essential that your product images are high resolution, front facing and with a white background. Use bullet points to call out key product features, and use A+ (enhanced) content, such as video and rich media.

4. Increase sales through ratings and reviews

More reviews means a greater chance of sales. We analyzed the best-selling chocolate products on Amazon US, UK, DE and the top 10 best-selling products across all markets are shown to have a significantly higher number of product reviews than the top 100 best sellers in total. 

Country Top 10 SKUs – # Product Reviews Top 100 SKUs – # Product Reviews
Amazon US 1114 497
Amazon UK 305 113
Amazon Germany 116 46

Source: Profitero Amazon FastMover Chocolate Reports, October 2016

5. Master the basics: always be in-stock

You’ve done the hard work of creating best quality images, optimizing your titles for discoverability, and investing in keyword sponsorship – but if your products simply aren’t available, you’re never going to win online. The best way to do this is through through daily monitoring of your stock levels via Vendor Central, or by using automated tools like Profitero.

Subscribe to our free Amazon FastMovers reports to monitor the best-performing brands across key categories on Amazon.