By Claire West

Today, new network data from Rakuten Marketing reveals that more people are shopping for gifts on-the-go for Valentine’s Day, as they turn to mobile devices for their shopping. The data, taken from Rakuten Marketing’s UK affiliate network of over 400 retailers, shows that sales on mobile devices now account for a quarter (25%) of all sales made in the run up to Valentine’s Day, with smartphone sales increasing by 91% year on year. In addition, the popularity of recent phone releases, such as the iPhone 6, shows a growing desire for larger mobile screens, suggesting that shopping on these devices is fast becoming more appealing and accessible. As a result, some shoppers are turning away from buying on desktop; Rakuten Marketing saw sales decrease in this channel by 6.1%.

More people in the UK are purchasing luxury gifts and jewellery for Valentine’s Day than ever before. Rakuten Marketing saw sales spike for these gifts a week before Valentine’s Day last year, whereas these sales dipped during the same period in 2013. The data also shows that partners are likely to purchase luxury goods up to a week before Valentine’s Day, showing that couples are considering luxury purchases, rather than opting for last minute gifts.

This trend for purchasing from the luxury sector mirrors a drop in the use of voucher sites for Valentine’s Day purchasing — as these sites saw their sales share drop by almost a fifth (18%) in the run up to 14th February 2014. Nonetheless, shopping and comparison sites accounted for 32.5% of Valentine’s Day gifts, suggesting that more Brits are researching products and comparing the price of the perfect gift for their loved one before purchasing.

Mark Haviland, MD, Rakuten Marketing Europe comments: “By identifying the bestselling products and top performing channels for conversion during Valentine’s Day, brands can ensure they are developing targeted campaigns that will drive engagement amongst shoppers. To harness the growing popularity of mobile devices, retailers must invest in creating mobile responsive campaigns with slick creative, and prioritise content which is easily consumed on-the-go. It’s the retail marketers who have a mobile-first strategy that are likely to see red this Valentine’s Day.”