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Red Saturday: Valentine’s answer to Black Friday

Red heart in the shopping cart Black Friday alone once signaled the start of the Christmas shopping season. Once online shopping became commonplace, we saw the inclusion of Cyber Monday. Days of deals galore dedicated to the hunt for that special something for someone to go under the tree. Then we went back to the standard humdrum of holiday shopping as required. What about Red Saturday? Unlike its autumnal cousins, Red Saturday’s date varies up to a full week into the month of February. The title goes to the Saturday that offers at least a full week between itself and Valentine’s Day and makes the start of the special someone shopping season. A week does not seem like much time to find that perfect present, especially given the months of planning and consideration that went into Christmas. Valentine’s gifts tend to be more snap decisions with 50 per cent of shoppers expected to spend at most 30 on the hunt for a gift or on date plans. Even with such quick choices, the purchases add up: Estimated spending for 2017 reached more than £1.5 billion, not a shabby amount for a rush! Unsurprisingly, certain businesses should expect to see a boost around this time: Restaurants could see a 14 per cent increase in patronage while hoteliers and jewelers could see upward of 30 per cent more clientele. Some spikes in sales can seem astronomical – for example, an estimated 295 per cent year-to-year increase for florists. There’s even potential for an additional increase in the 48 hours after the 14th: Make-up gifters who missed the holiday. Other benefited businesses tend to include florists, chocolatiers, and perfumeries. Red Saturday spending doesn’t merely include in-store purchases: Online searches and purchase booms as the big day approaches can help spending rise to more than 1.5 times more than Red Saturday alone. Shopping up a storm On average, men tend to spend almost double the amount spent by women, especially men aged 25 - 34. They’re also more likely to purchase gifts (74 per cent to 69 per cent). Their top four choices of 2017? Jewelry (11 per cent of spending); flowers (9.9 per  cent), clothing (8 per cent), and chocolates (6 per cent). [Tweet "On average, men tend to spend almost double the amount spent by women."] eBay noted that searches related to potential gifts raised by approximately 25 per cent – for example, handbags or perfume – though traditional gifts continue to lose track to newer ideas such as art, technology, and holiday packages. Currently, men tend to branch into these areas more than women, though this trend could change. SBEs can line themselves up for a fair slice of such increases: Unlike larger names and bigger businesses, SBEs can take advantage of their smaller sizes to offer a more intimate experience for the occasion. SBEs can also team up to help spread the love. Offer vouchers to neighboring businesses and partner up to reach another demographic that might not typically offer its patronage. Focus on the meaning of the day and tie it to your motif: A cozy dinner for two at a small neighborhood bistro. A custom piece of jewelry from a solo artisan. An experience that cannot be duplicated or a one-of-a-kind original piece. A craft soap maker with specialized romantic or sensual scents or at-home couples’ spa sets. Make sure to keep an emergency ration of quick gifts on standby: Last-minute shoppers (or oversight sufferers) may rush in for a quick bouquet and box of candies. Even a selection of cards that celebrate the second busiest greeting card holiday of the year could come in handy!