Mums win out over partners in Valentine’s Day versus Mother’s Day battle

We are quicker to shower our mothers with gifts than our spouses, according to new research from UK commerce conversion company Ve. The research compares increases in the rate of online conversions* in the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day with the two weeks before that, when shoppers’ behaviour could be considered ‘normal’.

The research provides the same type of data for Mother’s Day in 2015. It takes data from over 10 million retail transactions, spanning the most popular sectors for gift shopping.

Last year, flowers were predictably the favourite gift for both mothers and romantic partners. The days leading up to Mother’s Day saw the biggest rise in basket conversion rates, with an increase of 138% compared to the weeks before, while the lead up to Valentine’s Day saw a respectable 98% increase. This suggests that, while flowers remain popular for lovers, it’s mothers that are more likely to receive flowers as gifts.

Somewhat surprisingly, the second most popular gift on Mother’s Day was perfume, which sparked a conversion rate increase of 54%. Conversion rates actually dropped in the days before Valentine’s Day, suggesting perfume is not perceived as the romantic gift it once was, and is more likely to be seen as a wholesome gift for your mum.

The table of sectors and their respective conversion/abandonment rates is shown below:

Retail sector Cart Conversion Rate change (V)** Cart Conversion Rate change (M)***
Flowers 97.52% 137.68%
Adult 43.72% -3.60%
Specialist gifts 38.47% 24.30%
Jewellery 22.46% 2.74%
Dating Sites (subscription based) 6.97% -1.97%
Female Clothing 1.90% 9.45%
Travel -4.72% 34.71%
Ticketing -7.45% 28.42%
Perfume/Accessories -17.34% 54.16%
Confectionery/Wine -30.36% -0.71%

* Online conversion refers to the the number of users that have placed an item in their basket and then converted

** Valentine’s Day (compares cart conversion rates between 18-31 Jan and 1-14 Feb 2015)

*** Mother’s Day (compares cart conversion rates between 16 Feb-1 March and 2-15 March 2015)

It seems like Brits are taking a more modern and creative approach to Valentine’s Day, with the conversion rate of sex toys and other adult items rising by an impressive 44% in the run up to the big day. The growing popularity of retail outlets like Agent Provocateur and Ann Summers demonstrates a sharp decline in the stigma around the adult industry. Additionally, it’s likely that consumers feel more comfortable shopping for such purchases behind their screens rather than braving it in-store.

Ve’s data also tracked the changes in cart abandonment rates for the same retail sectors.

Evidently not everyone loves their mother as much as they should: a staggering 311% increase in cart abandonment rate in flowers was measured in the days leading up to Mother’s Day. This was the highest increase over all sectors and is huge compared to just a 23% increase before Valentine’s Day.

Retail sector Cart Abandonment Rate change (V)* Cart Abandonment Rate change (M)**
Flowers 22.72% 311.08%
Adult 14.02% 3.00%
Specialist gifts 30.81% 5.42%
Jewellery 17.22% 42.72%
Takeaways 19.71% -42.73%
Dating Sites (subscription based) 9.67% 1.41%
Female Clothing 2.49% 9.22%
Travel -2.55% 49.79%
Ticketing 31.60% 11.26%
Perfume/Accessories -7.02% 37.13%
Confectionery/Wine -16.75% 6.84%

* Valentine’s Day (compares cart abandonment between 18-31 Jan and 1-14 Feb 2015)

** Mother’s Day (compares cart abandonment between 16 Feb-1 March and 2-15 March 2015)

Tom Weeks, director of sales at Ve, commented on the findings:

“Our data brings up some surprising results about consumer habits when shopping online for their loved ones.  Perhaps most interesting from our 2015 comparison is that the steep increase in conversion rate for flowers around Mother’s Day was surpassed significantly by the jump in abandonment rate. This would suggest that we think more carefully about the flowers we choose for our mothers than we do for our spouses.”