Important Valentine's Day shipping reminders, plus tips for retailers


The last days to ship to arrive on time, how to ship perishables and how to capture more of the romance holiday's sales.

Shipping a Valentine's gift this season?

Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday this year. Here are the last days to ship to arrive on time. 

Retailers can capitalize on Valentine's Day sales by pairing a small traditional gift, such as a box of chocolates, with the items they typically sell.

If you're shipping chocolate or other perishables, especially to a warm destination, here's what you need to know about using dry ice or gel packs.

Not just about romance

Those bouquets of flowers, boxes of chocolates and candlelit dinners that are part of Valentine's Day add up. The National Retail Federation reports that U.S. shoppers spent $18.6 billion last year for the holiday.

"Valentine's Day used to involve only candy, jewelry and flowers, but now it involves every retailer," says Hugh Norton, UPS small business segment marketing manager. "People are giving more practical gifts like clothing and shoes."

In addition to a big spend, many U.S. consumers wait until the last minute to decide on a Valentine's Day gift. The market research firm NPD Group estimates that almost 80 percent of shoppers buy during the week of the romantic holiday. And it's not a holiday just for couples – one-fifth of Americans even buy their pet a Valentine's Day gift.

Here are some other revealing stats:

54: Percent of adults surveyed who planned to celebrate Valentine's Day, according to this year's National Retail Association Valentine's survey.

$134: Average amount each shopper spends on Valentine's Day gifts and cards annually.

Almost $2 billion: Amount spent by Valentine's Day shoppers on flowers alone.

110 million: Number of flowers that UPS will ship this year for the holiday. More than 90 percent of these will come from Latin America and be sorted in a 27,000 square-foot refrigerated warehouse at the UPS air cargo facility in Miami. 

26: Percent of Valentine's Day shoppers who bought their gifts online last year.

With a trend toward more practical gifts over flowers or jewelry, lots of retailers can get in on the Valentine's Day action.

Those retailers can capitalize on Valentine's Day sales by pairing a small traditional gift, such as a box of chocolates, with the items they typically sell. And specialty retailers can offer products tailored to pets, such as heart-shaped dog treats.

Gift card sales for Valentine's Day are also on the rise, Norton says. Retailers can take advantage of that trend by promoting gift cards and offering specials.

Norton has also noticed Valentine's Day promotions from food retailers, especially those that sell premade meals as an alternative to pricey restaurant dinners with long wait times.


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