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Love is in the Air: Jewelry, Chocolates, and Bath and Body Products for Valentine's Day

Caroline Wu
Feb 17, 2023
Love is in the Air: Jewelry, Chocolates, and Bath and Body Products for Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day this past week, sweets, flowers, cards, and jewelry purchases immediately come to mind.  And indeed we see that, after Christmas and Thanksgiving, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day are the times when jewelers see a spike in foot traffic.

  • Jewelry saw a strong February 2022, with YoY foot traffic exceeding 2021 for all the retailers measured here. Many discretionary retail categories have suffered headwinds between 2Q 2022-4Q 2022. However, we are seeing some promising signs for jewelry as Jan 2023 foot traffic is positive over last year for a majority of the retailers measured here. Kay Jewelers first opened in 1916 as a single store in Pennsylvania.  Over 100 years later, it has over 1,000 stores in the US.  Jared the Galleria of Jewelry is owned by the same parent company as Kay - Signet Jewelers - and tends to have more off-mall locations. Pandora has Danish origins and is now sold in more than 70 countries. Its charm bracelets are perennial best-sellers.   Helzberg Diamonds opened just a year before the first Kay did - in 1915 - and has also grown from a single store in Kansas to over 200 stores across the nation. It is now part of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. One of the most recent entrants to the jewelry world, Gorjana, is a standout – it is trending positive YoY for all of 2022.  It began as a DTC brand in 2004 and since expanding throughout the nation, it has doubled down on physical retail with aggressive store expansion plans. Kendra Scott also has an inspiring story.  The founder began her eponymous jewelry company with a $500 investment in 2002 and grew it to a billion-dollar valuation.

Sweets for the Sweet: See's Candies

  • Similar to jewelry, See’s Candies has seasonal spikes. This beloved old-fashioned chocolate store started by Mary See in 1921 has seen generations of families come in for their famous brittles, truffles, lollipops and of course, the delicious free sample handed out to every customer. The Christmas holiday is by far the most popular as people purchase the famous gold truffle boxes or black and white 1-lb boxes for teachers, loved ones, and clients.  Valentine’s is next in popularity, followed by Easter and Mother’s Day.
  • Using AGS: Behaviors & Attitudes, some interesting personas arise when seeing who shops at one of the most-visited See’s Candies in Fremont, CA.  With their penchant for craft beer, bubbly, and imported wine, a high-end liquor store nearby might be just the perfect pairing.  Interestingly, vegetarians also over-index as See’s visitors – perhaps they are getting their protein fix from Nuts ‘n Chews.

Bath Bombs, Bubbles, and More: Bath & Body Works, Lush, The Body Shop, Aesop, and L'Occitane en Provence

  • Fragrances, lotions, and bath products are sure to bring a smile to her face for Valentine’s Day.  After a strong February YoY performance in 2022, most of these bath and body retailers saw a decrease in foot traffic compared to last year in the remaining months.  Bath and Body Works showed the least decline, and even saw a brief increase in Sept 2022 YoY.  Lush had a strong February 2022 performance, probably due in part to its very giftable packaging. New limited-edition sets for Valentine’s 2023 include Valentine Bombshell, a Rose Jam-scented heart filled with dried flowers, petals and buds.    The Body Shop has been relatively flat, with some months increasing and others decreasing YoY.  However, 2023 is looking more promising, with particularly strong upticks in January 2023 for Aesop and L’Occitane en Provence.

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Caroline Wu

Director of Research,

Caroline brings expertise in retail, CRE, entertainment, media, CPG, and tourism, and specializes in synthesizing broad datasets into actionable recommendations for growth. She has worked as the US Director of Consumer Insights at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, VP of Retail Insights and Intelligence at Omnicom, and Senior Director at Kantar. Caroline holds an MA in Sociology from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

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