Shade Odugbesan, a 28- year-old market consultant, looks forward to Valentine’s Day. For her, the expression of love and gifts that comes her way not only touches her emotions, it also tells her a lot about life and living.

It was in this spirit that Odugbesan, not wanting to miss out on the celebration today, embarked on a shopping spree both for her ‘lovers’ and herself. At the end of the exercise, she had coughed out N50, 000, exceeding her original budget of N30,000.

For Kingsley Duke, a banker, aside the gifts for his partner, visiting some exotic locations are on his plans. This he hopes to crown the day with a marriage proposal.

Ahead of this, he had made some orders online to get an expensive ring for the proposal. Though he was shocked at the final bill he incurred, he saw it as a worthy venture.

“I had already planned a budget for today’s Valentine celebration. But at the time I was done, I realised I had overshot my original budget by over N100, 000. But then, it is worth it” he said.

Indeed, Valentine’s Day celebration has become an avenue to increase shopping and business. As consumers are making the best to express love to their loved ones, brands and retailers leverage the day to not only bond with their consumers but also deepen market penetration.

For instance, from card shops, resort centres, aviation sector, quick service restaurants, hotels, offline and online shopping malls, high street supermarkets, brand owners have deviced marketing strategies like discount offers, product launch, campaigns and promos to lure customers.

Marketing experts said seasons, such as this provide opportunities for  retailers to get busy again following the lull of  post Christmas market rush and also for businesses that are involved in the seasonal consumer goods and services.

This view was buttressed by a consumer analyst, Ben Adegoke, who submitted that the Valentine’s Day celebration has grown to become a big shopping window that creativity and innovations on how to satisfy consumers on such occasions has become a continuous activity for brands.

He noted that despite the economic downturn, most consumers would love to celebrate it as they have attached so much importance to it.

 

Booming sales

In Nigeria, some consumers are positive to make the best out of the season. At various retail outlets visited, some consumers were busy shopping gift items.

They expressed readiness to celebrate the day.  Retailers also noted that sales have slightly increased and are hopeful of making more sales even beyond today. For them, the entire month is Valentine celebration.

Greeting cards and flowers have always been the sought-after items for Valentine celebration, but recently, with changing dynamics in the country and ‘lovers’ getting more sophisticated, preferences have changed.

According to retailers, items such as perfumes, lingerie, wines, aphrodisiac products, watches, jewelries and chocolates enjoy more patronage during the season.

 

While some go to the extreme of buying cars, houses and huge amount of money to gift their partners. The retailers also said condoms are also some of the items that are in high demand at this period.

According to a jewelry dealer in Ajao Estate, Joke Olatunbosun, the season is a good boost for trade. She said it is mostly a necessity for the male folks to present gifts to their partners.

Though the unfavourable economy has an effect on the market, she noted that there is a slight increase in  sales volume recorded at such period. For her, last year’s celebration recorded good sales even though she expected more.

Olatunbosun remarked that at the beginning of the week leading up to today, patronage in her outlet has recorded geometric increase compared to other times. This she attributed to the 10 percent discount she offers.

A boutique owner at Osolo Way, Lagos, Daramola  Ogunleye, also  said she had recorded increased demand and sales for lingerie wears. Lingerie wears are ladies’ underwear. She attributed this surge in lingerie to the fact that ladies, on days like this, want to dazzle their partners with sexy undies.

“Both men and women patronise this kind of wears. It is a gift item for them. Some lovebirds would love to celebrate the day at beaches, hotels, have night outs, and lingerie seem perfect for them.

Since the month, began I have received over 75 percent demand for lingerie compared to last year. The month is known as a month of romance and I foresee good sales before it  elapses,” she explained.

Another retailer, who sells gift items, Jude Ekposu, argued that greeting cards still have its place in the market during the love season.

However, he said it plays a complementary role to the main gift items. He noted that the demand for cards has increased and he was positive to sell more today.

A beautician, Mary Douglas is also counting profit this season. “I have got more bookings for my make-up services. It is a season of love and ladies want to look their best for their partners.

The weekend, which the day falls into is of advantage to my business as the celebration would continue till Sunday.

Even with their tight schedules at their workplaces, I have had good number of customers for hairdos, manicure and pedicure. In fact this this week began, I close late than on other days” she said.

Although sales and revenue figures at Valentine could not be sourced in the country, according to the National Retail Federation, in the United States, this year’s Valentine’s spending has been estimated to reach $27.4 billion, a 32 percent increase from last year’s record of $20.7 billion.