John Preddy

The SMS Experts

Survey: 63% Will Share the Love by Texting This Valentine’s Day

April 30, 2021 SMS Tips 0

Nothing says romance like a well worded text message, or at least that’s what 63% of survey respondents ages 18 to 44 believe. In a survey about consumer communication habits and spending leading up to Valentine’s Day 2021, a majority of respondents said they are planning to use text messages to let the people they love most in life know they care this year. 

Those results align with a broader trend marketers are noticing in the lead up to Valentine’s Day 2021. Consumers are prioritizing instant, to-the-point messaging they can receive in the palms of their hands. 

Predicting consumer behavior is hard at the best of times, but even more difficult as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Changes to purchasing behaviors have caused communication challenges that can strain even the best marketing teams. Here’s what we discovered about current consumer trends by surveying shoppers from across the United States.  

Share the Love Survey — Key findings

  • Text messages are the new love letters: 63% of respondents ages 18 to 44 plan to send texts to the people they love this Valentine’s Day. The leading communication method tips toward placing a phone call for ages 45 to 54, at 60.96% of respondents, but text messaging is a close second, with 51.37% of respondents in that age group saying they will also send texts. 
  • Restaurants, get ready: A majority (33.64%) of Americans said their biggest Valentine’s Day spending will be at restaurants, while 20.82% said they will spend the most on candy and chocolate and 20.45% will spend on physical gifts. 
  • Shopping local is en vogue: 45.64% of Americans are prioritizing spending at local businesses for Valentine’s Day 2021. 
  • Optimize for mobile: 47.27% of Americans plan to shop online using their smartphone, while only 32.73% will use a laptop for online purchases and even fewer, 15.18%, will use a desktop computer for online purchases. Retailers that don’t have a simple way to collect mobile payments are leaving a lot on the table.
  • Is it here, yet?: Accurate shipping updates lead the way when it comes to the most important aspect of online shopping for consumers. Not only that, but free shipping can be the most enticing value added offer, with 41% of men and 53% of women indicating free shipping has the greatest influence on where they’ll shop.

63% of 18- to 44-year-olds will send their love via text

If there was any doubt about text messaging’s place as the number one communication channel for people under 44, let that be dispelled with the latest statistics that show 63% of survey respondents in that age group plan to text the people they love this Valentine’s Day. Survey results show texting isn’t far behind for those ages 44 and up, either. While placing a phone call was the most popular communication method for this age group at 61.37%, texting came in second with nearly one out of two (48.60%) respondents over the age of 45 saying they planned to use a text message to reach out to someone they love on Valentine’s Day. 

communication preferences statistics 2021
Question: How do you plan to let the people you care about in your life know you’re thinking of them this Valentine’s Day? (Select all that apply) Ages 18-44 in green, Ages 45 and older in blue.

Action steps to take

For people under 44 years old, text messaging is the go-to way to send personal messages. It’s also incredibly popular with those over 44, with nearly one out of two respondents planning to text someone they love. The message is clear: Texting is the way to reach people with messages that matter. What does this mean for brands?

  • White-gloved communication: If a customer has given you their number and consented to receiving text messages from you, they’re placing you in a very personal category. Treat this with the utmost respect. Know that your messages will be read. 
  • Provide value: Send only the most valuable messages through text, with exclusive offers or other ways of directly benefiting your customers.
  • Start texting now: If you don’t already have a text marketing plan in place, now is the time to start. You can send online texts easily to many people at once. It’s clear that people of all ages place a huge importance on text messaging as their preferred communication method. If you’re neglecting this channel in your technology stack, you’re likely neglecting the preferences of a majority of your customers.   

Americans are buying tactile gifts

Digital gifts and experiences are out, physical gifts are in this Valentine’s Day as 33.64% of survey respondents say the majority of their spending will go toward dinner plans while 20.82% will spend big on candy or chocolate and 20.45% will buy other physical products. If you’ve been pivoting toward online events or experiences during the pandemic, now might be a time to consider how to boost your offering of physical products as survey respondents indicate they are deprioritizing digital experiences. 

covid Valentine's Day 2021 shopping statistics
Question: What do you expect to spend the most money on this Valentine’s Day?

Action steps to take

Recognizing the appetite for physical products, reassess your offerings, supply chain and communication approach. Ask your team these questions:

  • Is your online store fast and optimized so customers can easily complete the order process?
  • Do you have an effective method for enticing customers to complete the order process after they have abandoned their cart? Remember, strong abandoned cart messaging can increase your recovery rate to as high as 58%
  • Do you have a clear communications strategy for shipping updates? As you’ll see below, accurate shipping updates are one of the highest priorities for consumers in 2021.

All age groups want to shop local

Supporting local is a priority amongst all age groups, who indicate they’ll be turning to local stores over box stores and even online retailers for gifts this Valentine’s Day. A majority of respondents, 45.64%, indicated they prefer to shop at local businesses this year. Big brands and ecommerce stores looking to support this trend can do so by highlighting their connection to and support of local businesses in their supply chain and charitable efforts. 

2021 consumer shopping statistics
Question: How do you prefer to purchase gifts this Valentine’s Day?

Action steps to take

Whether you’re a local business or a major brand there are ways to support the growing sentiment for shopping local. 

  • Local businesses— Optimize your shopping experience: It’s clear that consumers want to support local so make it as easy as possible for them by optimizing your online shopping and curbside pickup or delivery process. Take special care to make sure your online store works well on mobile, since this is where the majority of people plan to do their shopping. Find a simple, impactful solution for keeping shoppers informed of their order status (hint: text messaging is great for this). 
  • Major brands and ecommerce retailers— Show support for local: Highlight the ways your brand does support local, whether that’s in your supply chain or through charitable efforts. Consumers should feel that their purchase decision with you does double duty by helping them get the products they love and putting money back into their local economy.

Nearly 1 in 2 plan to purchase via smartphone

People. Are. Glued. To. Their. Phones. For more evidence we present to you this stat: Nearly one in two survey respondents (47.27%) say they plan to purchase gifts via smartphone. It’s not just youngsters who prefer mobile payments. Smartphone shopping leads the way for consumers ages 54 and up, with a majority, 37.71%, indicating this will be their primary method of online shopping. 

2021 purchase preference statistics
Question: How do you plan to make online purchases? Chart shows answers for all age groups. 

Action steps to take

With nearly half of all shoppers purchasing exclusively via their phone, marketers need to think strategically about how to upgrade their mobile communications strategy and reduce friction in the mobile purchasing process. Here are some best practices to integrate:

  • Synch your software: Use mobile messaging platforms that integrate seamlessly with your online store (Shopify or otherwise).
  • Make it simple: Include a link directly to your online store in your text messages so customers can purchase without ever having to put down their phones.
  • Send mobile abandoned cart notifications: Since customers prefer to purchase using their smartphone, abandoned cart notifications should be sent directly to their phones via text messages— you can include a link directly to their pending shopping cart to reduce friction.  

Shipping updates priority for shoppers

Respondents were asked to rank in terms of priority the the most important aspect of their online Valentine’s Day shopping experience during the pandemic, with accurate shipping updates coming in as the top concern for shoppers, followed by an easy check out experience in the number two spot and discounts in third. 

consumer shopping needs statistics
Question: What is the most important aspect of your online Valentine’s Day shopping experience during COVID-19? Answers were ranked in order of preference.

Action steps to take

Retailers both large and small need to prioritize order status communications, especially as shipping times have proven to be inconsistent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how:

  • Provide clarity: Let customers know when they can expect to hear from you throughout the process. Touchpoints could include: when their order is received, when it is filled, when it ships and shipping estimates along the way. Your messaging software should integrate with your order management software to automate these communications.
  • Offer options: Allow customers to decide how they want to be contacted with updates about their order— email, text message or both. While email has long been the traditional method for communicating with updates, it’s clear that text messaging is becoming the new go-to. Giving your customers a choice shows you value their preference and time, and that you’re committed to robust communication.

Additional survey findings include

  • 52% say COVID-19 has had no impact on their plans to buy their partner a gift for Valentine’s Day
  • The majority, 36%, say they plan to spend less than $35 on their partner this Valentine’s Day and 41% expect their partner to spend less than $35
  • Only 3% expect their partner to spend $500 or more on a gift

Survey methodology

Results for this survey were conducted online via Pollfish, collecting 1,100 responses on January 13, 2021. Respondents were based in the United States.