Business of love: How startups are finding more customer love this Valentine’s Day

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Published: February 12, 2020 6:15:13 PM

With Valentine's week currently underway, startups are making a beeline for millennials to commercialise the big day in every way.

While the official data on India’s Valentine’s market is not available, industry association Assocham had estimated the market to be worth Rs 22,000 crore in 2014.

Much like festive/holiday seasons around Diwali and New year, startups have made Valentine’s Day sort of another mega festival in a year to earn more and attract more customers. Right from new-age florists, home decor, personal care to dating apps, self-drive car and bike rentals, gifting, travel, everyone wants a piece of the festival of love. With Valentine’s week currently underway, startups are making a beeline for young millennials to ensure they commercialise the big day in every way.

For instance, dating app TrulyMadly bets on the occasion to boost its user engagement and acquiring new users. Currently, the company has Valentine’s Day campaign running on its app called Forever Stories. For this, it has collaborated with few poets and artists who have created poetry inspired by the real-life stories of TrulyMadly couples. The company has already garnered a million-plus view in three days of the campaign launch. “February is imperative for us in terms of user engagement. We usually see a spike in user engagement during Valentine’s week, hence we provide a lot of offers on our premium subscription called Select to further amplify our user engagement,” Snehil Khanor, CEO and Founder, TrulyMadly told Financial Express Online.

While these offers affect its revenue negatively in the short run as it gives away a lot of freebies, however “in the long run it helps us in acquiring new users and retaining the previous ones,” he added.

Similarly, for India’s largest digital florist Ferns N Petals, which is reportedly aiming for an IPO this year, Valentine’s season helps boost its revenue significantly. The company is expecting to sell 50,000 bundles of roses (10 lakh stems of roses) this year and is anticipating 25 per cent growth in revenue in the first 14 days of February, as compared to other months. Also, Valentine’ Day contributes 4 per cent to the company’s top line, according to Pawan Gadia, CEO, Online and Retail, Ferns N Petals. “We have come up with experiential gifting to celebrate the day of love and romance in the most romantic manner. Also, the highlight of the season is Forever Rose – this beautiful rose is a classic example of ‘Timeless & Eternal Love’,” said Gadia.

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While the official data on India’s Valentine’s market is not available, industry association Assocham had estimated the market to be worth Rs 22,000 crore in 2014. Experts opined that the festival, which has gained significance from just a day of celebration to an entire week, marks an important timeline in a year for businesses after the Diwali and New Year to get maximum bang for their buck and make up for the rest of the year before the festive season begins again. “People are spending more nowadays and a young millennial population, which believes in spending more and saving less, businesses are gunning for that. Hence you will see that while earlier the focus used to be on just February 14, now it is for the complete week that businesses want to capture their audience,” Rohit Chokhani, Principal Founder of venture fund White Unicorn Ventures told Financial Express Online. The fund has companies including Drivezy and dating app Aisle under its portfolio.

“During December, Diwali and Valentine’s week is when Aisle sees an upswing in user registrations. On the other hand, Drivezy runs promotions for Valentine’s festival. In fact, Valentine’s weekend is the highest spending weekend for them. After December 31, the biggest uptick in growth is during this occasion,” said Chokhani.

For someone like Delhi-based men’s grooming startup Bombay Shaving Company launched in 2016, Valentine’s festival ain’t just a day to sell more. It is one of their tent pole events as the company experiences an average of four-time monthly gross sales of around Rs 4.5 crore from regular months. Bombay Shaving Company claimed to see healthy year-on-year growth which highlights secular gifting trend even as the concept is fast gaining pace beyond metros from where the startup has started seeing good volumes. “For us, gifting has always been an occasion to acquire new customers. To achieve the objective, we offer personalised valentine themed kits – which customers find great value and novelty products.” Shantanu Deshpande, Founder and CEO, Bombay Shaving Company told Financial Express Online. The current annual turnover of the company stands at Rs 50 crore

The growth trend during Valentine’s week is also visible for relatively younger startups such as premium shoe brand Churchill & Company, digital gifting voucher firm GyFTR, men’s innerwear brand XYXX. While Churchill & Company is expecting a 25-30 per cent surge in revenue, GyFTR is hoping for Rs 10 crore of the transaction value. On the other hand, XYXX is eyeing a 50 per cent increase this week in sales. Valentine’s week starts from February 7 and ends on February 14 as Valentine’s day.

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