Valentine’s Day: Why Marketing to Singles is a Great Idea

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For marketers, there’s a huge untapped seasonal market every year, and it has to do with marriage and romance – or rather, the lack of it.

According to the latest census figures, 45 percent of people aged 18 and older in the United States are single. This represents a total of around 109 million people – welcome numbers for any marketer; yet until recently, single people have been the forgotten demographic on Valentine’s Day. Here’s why you should focus your Valentine’s Day marketing ideas on this segment as well.

Why Choose Valentine’s Day for Singles Marketing?

According to National Retail Federation figures, retail spending for Valentine’s Day 2017 reached approximately $18.2 billion. It’s a holiday that’s already associated with spending money – and by targeting singles, you’ll be doing the unexpected by encouraging singles to spend that money on themselves.

You’ll also appeal to a demographic that often either ignores or has a certain disdain for the holiday. According to a study from Elite Daily, 47 percent of single women and 65 percent of single men would prefer to do nothing on Valentine’s Day.

With an effective marketing campaign, you can tap into this market and even create a cultural phenomenon. In 1993, China’s Nanjing University created the first Single’s Day (November 11) as an “anti-Valentine’s Day” celebration. In 2001, the world’s largest retailer Alibaba held its first “Singles’ Day” sales – an e-commerce event that has since become a retail behemoth, far surpassing Black Friday in consumer spending. By the end of Singles’ Day 2017, retail sales revenues reached a record $25.3 billion.

Here are five ways you can capture the singles demographic this Valentine’s Day.

Make Singlehood a Positive Experience

In years past, being single carried a negative connotation – particularly for women. Fortunately, society no longer fosters this attitude; but because of these past stigmas, you need make sure that your ad campaigns don’t portray being single in a negative light. Instead, show singles having fun rather than longing for a date.

Being single isn’t always a personal choice. Some people might need a boost of self-confidence on Valentine’s Day – or they might want to indulge in some comfort spending. This makes Valentine’s Day an ideal time for marketing self-pampering items such as soaps and spa items, gourmet treats, luxury clothing and accessories, and other items that one wouldn’t purchase every day.

Show Ads Featuring Singles

One smart strategy is to show that your product doesn’t have to be shared with a partner or child in order to be enjoyed. This is especially effective in markets already saturated with “happy family” type ads.

A good example of this would be an ad creative portraying a man or woman sitting alone, luxuriating in a box of gourmet chocolates. Whether it’s a box of chocolates, an electronic device or a hoodie, if your ad portrays a single person enjoying it, singles will get the message.

Identify Spending Behaviors for Singles

Being single isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. It not only involves a lot of factors; it also encompasses a wide range of ages and lifestyles. For optimum marketing (not only for Valentine’s Day but all year round), it’s crucial to pay attention to marketing numbers in terms of spending behavior – and in terms of what interests singles.

Because of their independent lifestyle, singles have a tendency to focus on taking care of themselves. In a recent study, 56 percent of singles said that their long-term goal was to improve their physical health. If your business relates to health and fitness, you could target singles with, for instance, a special Valentine’s event at a gym or health club.

The same study showed that 51 percent of singles are more likely to try new things, and 43 percent are likely to spend spontaneously. This creates an ideal target market for new products. For example, a new clothing item can be touted as perfect to wear to a Valentine’s party; or an ad for a new smartphone can show someone using it to make Valentine’s dinner reservations.


Target Social Media and Single-Friendly Sites

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have quickly become destination sites for daily chat sessions participated in by millions of single adults. In fact, there are even lists of popular Twitter hashtags that people can use to identify their unattached status. Reddit, too, has a number of popular singles groups. Likewise, the most common age demographic(29.7 percent) for Facebook users is 25-34 – a prime demographic for marketers.

It’s also a good strategy to go with display advertising on blogs and sites that are known to specifically appeal to single people. These include travel and dating sites, physical fitness, self-help and beauty sites, and specialty apps (such as Tinder) that are geared toward singles.


Offer Special Promotions

While you don’t want to leave out your other customers by offering discounts to singles only, you can still offer special promotions that will appeal to singles.

According to a study from OpenTable, restaurant reservations for parties of one have increased nationally in recent years by 62 percent. Savvy marketers in the food and beverage industry can leverage this information by offering Valentine’s-themed singles events. Likewise, more than 17 percent of singles are over 65 – a perfect demographic for the travel industry to target with hotel discounts and Valentine’s week singles cruises and vacation packages.

With nearly half the adults in the United States unmarried, advertisers are already starting to swing the focus of their Valentine’s Day marketing away from couples, gravitating instead towards unattached adults with more disposable income. Savvy marketers would do well to embrace the change and leverage the buying power of this new demographic of single customers.