Besides sewing a boar’s head onto a turkey’s body, single women would also enjoy roasting a hedgehog.

February 14, 2020
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Valentine's Day Facts

Valentine’s Day splits opinion. It’s either the greatest ‘lovey-dovey’ celebration on the mainstream calendar, or the mother of all non-holidays; pushing yet another idea of enforced conformity upon the nation. Whichever camp you sit in, one thing certainly rings true – we like to part with our cash on the 14th of February.

Our spending trends change during the run-up to Valentine’s Day. For those trying to woo a partner, the likes of chocolate, wine, and flowers fly off the shelves. Fancy homecooked meals find people desperately scrambling for lesser found ingredients. For those trying to avoid St. Valentine and all his nonsense, anything goes.

Not that Valentine’s history is straightforward. Some of it is downright dark. So, before we delve in to crunch some Valentine’s Day sales data, here’s our investigation into debunking all that love and goodness.

X marks the spot

Various historians consider the X symbol to have become synonymous with the kiss during medieval times. Individuals who couldn’t write their names would sign the letter ‘X’ in front of witnesses, before kissing the X to display their sincerity. This process would find favour when agreeing to a monetary loan from a respective landlord, for example.

Since then, the ‘X’ has been largely accepted to represent the kiss. The ‘O’ came about as ‘the hug’ for a relatively simple reason. It started in North America, where noughts & crosses brought ‘X’ and ‘O’ together. As ‘O’ looked like circled arms creating a hug, the ‘XOXO’ was born!


Roast Hedgehog

It just wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a good feed. Except, it wasn’t always steak (vegetarian options are available) and wine. Back when Longshanks ruled Britain, young women devoured some questionable and ‘weird’ foods thought to provide visions of a future husband.

Besides sewing a boar’s head onto a turkey’s body, single women would also enjoy roasting a hedgehog. We do not recommend this method of trying to find your true love.

Chocolate for a Broken Heart

During the Victorian era, doctors and physicians would regularly prescribe chocolate to those pining after a lost love. Coincidentally, Mr Cadbury brought out the first series of Valentine’s-themed chocolates during this time. His actions scored against the grain, by presenting an edible form of what Victorian’s found fashionable; drinking chocolate.

While European society soon boiled this down into a simple action of males gifting chocolate to a chosen female, Japan went the opposite direction. According to folklore, Japanese women are expected to present their male crush with chocolates. Apparently, this stems from a popular advert first shown years ago.

Richard Cadbury never patented the heart-shaped box full of chocolates, but he is credited with the first design.

The boxes became collectable and were marketed as containers for love letters and other trinkets. Nowadays, more than 35 million heart-shaped chocolate boxes are sold around Valentine’s Day.

In America, more than a billion dollars’ worth of chocolate is purchased on VD. Most people find that red or pink chocolate is the most romantic. Naturally, prices around February 14th for special chocolates more than doubles.

UK  Sales

Confectionary, alcohol, and card sales spike in the run up to Valentine’s Day. During 2019, the week before February 14th, and the week of Valentine’s itself, accounted for 49.78% of all units during a five week period. Card sales increased by over 20% in the week beginning 11/02/2019, where as alcohol and confectionary sales also increased, but not by such a dramatic margin.

For more information on Valentine’s Day sales data, get in touch with our data team through our website.

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