What Does Valentine’s Day Mean for the Luxury Fashion Industry in 2022 and Beyond?

The fashion, cosmetics, luxury goods and lifestyle industries have a long and iconic relationship with Valentine’s Day. Whether brands and magazines are compiling the must-have items for the special day, selling products for a cosy night in or luxury designs for a fancy night out, Valentine’s Day is a key event in their calendars.

Having to live up to ‘the most romantic day of the year’ comes with some big challenges for the industry, from a merchandising, marketing, operational, online and in-store retail perspective. It’s worth asking ourselves some questions. How does the global public feel about Valentine’s Day? Are brands really getting a return on their investments? How do brands go about marketing Valentine’s Day and about what do their campaigns say about their evolution?

For just ONE day, there’s a lot to unpack, so it’s worth asking ourselves: What does Valentine’s Day mean for the luxury fashion industry in 2022 and beyond?

An Opportunity for Reinvention and Inclusivity

Brands have to annually plan and prepare for how they are going to invent and re-invent themselves for one of the biggest commercial holidays of the year. This year, Rihanna launched Savage X Fenty’s V-Day lingerie collection for men and women; Cartier re-purposed their classic products for their Celebrate Valentine’s Day the Cartier Way campaign and Swarovski launched their LGBTQ+ inclusive Love in Every Facet collection.

This reinvention is the perfect opportunity for established and up-coming luxury brands alike to showcase their commitment to diversity and inclusivity. In fact, with growing recognition that the fashion industry needs to diversify if it’s to thrive and survive, if a brand isn’t showing their commitment, (even if it’s a ‘traditional’ brand) what does that say about them?

From a PR and marketing perspective, clearly, it’s crucial brands get Valentine’s Day ‘right’. Particularly with a growing recognition of the significance of LGTBQ+ history month falling in the same month as Valentine’s Day, a non-diverse, non-inclusive campaign could really sour customers’ relationship with that brand.

In 2022 and beyond, Valentine’s Day means more than just date-night-ready couture; now, it carries a social weight and responsibility.

How much is the UK willing to spend on Valentine’s Day?

Using the UK as an example – Valentine’s Day like many other big commercial celebrations has been affected by the pandemic over the last two years. According to Finder, they found around 40 million Brits celebrated Valentine’s Day in 2021, down from 41.1 million in 2020. However, around 25% of British singletons in 2020 also treated themselves, spending £155 million in total across the UK. The information from Finder also indicates we’re spending less on Valentine’s Day, most likely in wake of the pandemic, as Brits are spending 17% less than they did three years ago.

There are even more interesting conclusions from Finder’s research, which we can break down by age, gender and region: Gen-Z are outspending Millennials when it comes to Valentine’s Day treats, on-average, Londoners were the most generous with their Valentine’s Day spending, and men were more likely to buy for their partners.

Despite a shaky couple of years, in 2022, Finder are projecting a potential £1.3 billion spent on Valentine’s Day in the UK. So, there’s still an appetite for splashing out on the special day. However, with all this mind, what does that mean specifically for luxury fashion brands?

What are the challenges for luxury brands?

Love (or self-love) might still be in the air for all those who participate, but the day still presents challenges specific to the luxury sector. Months of strategic planning, coordination and investment goes into just one day – it isn’t an extended commercial celebration period like Christmas, so there’s an even shorter window to shift high value products. However, as we’ve seen, Valentine’s Day doesn’t necessitate new collections, just smart re-packing of existing products.

For many companies and brands, a 2 for 1 offer is the go-to discount, but clearly that isn’t suitable for luxury brands who want to keep the prestige of their label. Our blog on luxury fashion and Black Friday touches on this topic too. As we’ve seen from Finder’s research, we aren’t spending ubiquitously like we do at Christmas, as certain age demographics and genders are more likely than others to buy for their partners, so you have to focus on who you are targeting and why.

So, luxury brands have a lot to juggle with their Valentine’s Day campaigns, from the optics and PR of their collections to the marketing and merchandising. However, Valentine’s Day still remains a great opportunity to generate revenue, but brands have to be strategic if they’re to truly capitalise on the 14th February. 

Final Thoughts

With OTB’s Retail Consultancy service, we can ensure your business is prepared to make the most of Valentine’s Day and the big commercial celebrations and holidays of the year. We can help build seasonal promotion plans that are sales-focused but still hold true to your brand’s reputation and identity. Our ethos at OTB is to build and cultivate a long-term relationship with your brand that gets into the DNA of your business and consumer-base. That way, we can help you navigate those challenging times of year for luxury retail. Our services cover a wide range, including, supporting start-up businesses, business structure, digital marketing and much more.

Email us today or call us on 0207169300; we can’t wait to discover your business’s potential.

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A few words about the article author

Dwayne Ferguson is the director of Digital360.mobi and head of Digital at Outside The Box Recruitment.

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