Local Marketing Insights from Valentine’s Day

Data Scout is LSA’s series that curates and draws meaning from third-party data. Running semi-weekly, it adds an analytical layer to the industry data that we encounter in daily knowledge building. For Localogy original data, see the separate Modern Commerce Monitor™️ series.


Valentine’s day is over (to the relief of many), but analysis of the consumer shopping holiday continues. To prepare for Localogy’s 20/20 conference next month, we’ve been diving into GroundTruth’s latest data on Valentine’s Day consumer behavior, and strategic takeaways for local businesses.

This all happens in light of the National Retail Federation’s projection that 2020 will be a record year for Valentine’s day with $27.4 billion in consumer spending. That’s a lot of flowers and chocolate. Given that it’s a dining-out holiday, it also impacts lots of local restaurants. Who came out on top?

According to Groundtruth, Red Lobster saw an increase in foot traffic of 86 percent above normal levels in 2019 and 76 percent above the previous Valentine’s Day. For Fine Dining, steakhouses led with Longhorn Steakhouse and Ruth’s Chris growing foot traffic 76 percent and 71 percent respectively.

On average, fine dining restaurants saw a larger boost (49 percent) than casual dining (22 percent). That’s unsurprising, given the likelihood to splurge on Valentine’s Day.  This makes competition for foot traffic greater among higher-end restaurants, which compels deliberate audience targeting strategies.

As for other Valentine’s day-centric product categories, the spending was stretched over a longer period. Given the need to purchase some items in advance, jewelry stores saw the biggest foot-traffic boost on the Saturday before Valentine’s day, to the tune of 69 percent above average levels.

But products with a lighter consideration cycle (e.g. greeting cards and chocolate) saw more activity on the actual holiday. Drug store foot traffic increased 24 percent on average on Valentine’s Day compared to normal levels. The same was likely true for perishable items like flowers (our speculation).

The point of all of this is for marketers to target the right in-market audiences to maximize ROI for location-targeted campaigns. But in this case, temporal relevance joins location relevance in reaching the right target audiences for whom the probability of marketing influence is greater.

That includes lots of tactics like using location data to formulate audience targeting. It’s also about having relevant messaging and creative that aligns with that strategy. These types of targeted, temporal and holistic campaigns can be better informed with foot-traffic data for predictive modeling.

Here, Groundtruth as a location data platform has a vested interest. It’s classic content marketing to expose its platform’s ability to measure foot traffic, delivered alongside some timely insights. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s always good to recognize the intent behind any vendor-released data.

Check out more about the data here and some graphics below. And check out the aforementioned 2020 conference here. Next month in San Antonio, we’ll get the chance to examine lots of location-based marketing strategies related to and beyond the insights above. We hope to see you there.

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