Hopefully, the “hearts and flowers” of Valentine’s Day will spread to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C. After all, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holiday observances in the U.S. and presents a chance for politicians to mark the day with gifts for their colleagues. Instead of cacti or bitter chocolate, perhaps an offer of legislation for immigration or tax reform would be in order.
According to a survey conducted by BIGInsight for the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $18.6 billion for Valentine’s candy, cards, gifts and other items this year. Americans like to buy jewelry and flowers all year, not just for Valentine’s Day. How much do they spend annually, and who would probably spend the most?
Americans love giving flowers to their loved ones. Buying flowers online is quick, easy and rapidly gaining in popularity. According to Esri, a geographic information systems company, people in the Northeast and some major cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Chicago are most likely to order flowers online. Except for consumers in the Atlanta metro area, people in the South are least likely to buy flowers online.
ZIP codes where people are most likely to buy flowers on the Internet are 06870 (Old Greenwich, Conn.), 60022 (Glencoe, Ill.) and 98039 (Medina, Wash.). Residents of these ZIP codes are three times more likely than the average American to purchase flowers on the Internet.
What type of adult is most likely to buy flowers online? Esri has developed the Tapestry Segmentation system that classifies U.S. residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.
Tapestry neighborhoods with people most likely to purchase flowers on the Internet are Boomburbs, Metro Renters, Suburban Splendor and Top Rung. Residents of these neighborhoods are at least two times more likely than the average American to buy flowers online. Three of these segments are affluent; Metro Renters residents aren’t as wealthy but may prefer the quick convenience of buying flowers online.
Boomburbs communities are home to busy, affluent families with young children who live an upscale lifestyle. Residents of Metro Renters neighborhoods are young, well-educated singles who are beginning their professional careers in some of the largest U.S. cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Suburban Splendor neighborhoods are the epitome of upward mobility and slightly below the top in affluence. In growing affluent neighborhoods, most of these residents are two-income, married-couple families with or without children. Top Rung is Tapestry’s wealthiest consumer segment and represents less than 1% of all U.S. households. These residents are married couples with and without children, highly educated and in their peak earning years.
Tapestry segments with residents least likely — one-fourth as likely — to buy flowers online are Home Town, Rural Bypasses and Southern Satellites
Commonalities of residents in these neighborhoods are relatively low incomes and less populous locations. They also may not have access to the Internet. Home Town neighborhoods are a mix of singles and families in settled, low‐density communities where residents are content to stay close to home. Rural Bypasses neighborhoods are in small Southern towns along back country roads near open space, undeveloped land and farms. Unemployment is high; however, those who are working have jobs in the agriculture, mining, manufacturing and construction industries at a higher‐than‐average rate. Most of the households in rural Southern Satellites neighborhoods are comprised of married‐couple families. They work in the manufacturing and service industries, and live in newer single‐family houses or mobile homes.
Every woman loves to receive jewelry — especially diamonds. The average American spends about $160 per year for jewelry. This amount varies widely according to neighborhood type and location.
People living along the Eastern Seaboard and in large cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver likely spend the most for jewelry. Residents in ZIP codes 07078 (Short Hills, NJ), 60043 (Kenilworth, Ill.) and 94027 (Atherton, Calif.) are among the highest spenders for jewelry. Residents in these ZIP codes spend, on average, at least $573 per year for jewelry.
Shoppers who might buy diamonds also live along the Eastern Seaboard and in some rural areas of California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend in ZIP codes with the highest likelihood of diamond buyers — 19142 (Philadelphia), 48235 (Detroit) and 60628 (Chicago). Residents in these ZIP codes are at least 1.5 times more likely than the average American to buy diamonds.
Where are jewelry and diamond buyers apt to live? Not surprisingly, residents that might spend the most for jewelry live in the Connoisseurs, Suburban Spendor and Top Rung neighborhoods,Tapestry’s most affluent segments. These residents spend, on average, $300 or more per year for jewelry.
Connoisseurs residents are well‐educated, somewhat older and conspicuous consumers who love to shop. Their neighborhoods tend to be older, affluent, established, and slow-growing. Suburban Splendor neighborhoods are growing, affluent areas — the epitome of upward mobility. Many residents are two‐income, married‐couple families with or without children. These residents are well educated and have good jobs. Top Rung is Tapestry’s wealthiest consumer segment and represents less than one percent of all U.S. households. These residents are married couples with and without children, highly educated and in their peak earning years.
Residents of City Commons and Modest Income Homes neighborhoods spend the least amount for jewelry — $75 or less per year. City Commons neighborhoods are found in large Southern and Midwestern metropolitan areas. Residents of these low-income areas are young, single or single parents, and most likely, unemployed or work part‐time. Modest Income Homes neighborhoods are primarily in older suburbs of metropolitan areas. Households are comprised of singles, single parents and family types that live in single-family housing.
Diamond buyers live in very different neighborhoods from jewelry buyers. Residents of Family Foundations and Urban Rows neighborhoods would most likely buy diamonds — at least 1.5 times more likely than the average American to purchase diamonds. This is a surprising result, and the reason is unknown.
Households in Family Foundations neighborhoods are a mix of married couples, single parents, grandparents, and young and adult children. These small, urban neighborhoods are located primarily in large Southern and Midwestern metropolitan areas. Most residents live in owner‐occupied, single‐family housing built before 1970. Urban Rows neighborhoods include different family types who live in row houses built before 1950 primarily in large Northeastern port cities such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, with smaller concentrations in the South. Many households are multi-generational.
Why this matters
While we are certainly curious about gifts congressional representatives or senators might present to each other for Valentine’s Day, the consumer spending patterns really matter more to retailers and distributors. For example, florists can use this information to market their services to consumers. Online florists want to target consumers who would most likely buy online. Local florists want to attract bricks-and-mortar customers and potential online consumers with very special offers — beautiful arrangements, competitive pricing and convenience. This information helps florists to identify their ideal consumers — and avoid areas with low potential. Jewelers can also use this information by identifying where their best customer types live and targeting advertising accordingly. Marketing messages can be versioned based on customer types and locations.
Pam Allison is a digital media, marketing strategist and location intelligence consultant. You can visit her blog at www.pamallison.com.