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Product Bite:How to Avoid the “Love Tax” this Valentine’s Day

shutterstock_155071682With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Americans are spending more on chocolate and flowers than usual–last year Valentine’s Day spending reached $19 billion. But when it comes to buying gifts for your significant other, you may want to rethink a visit to the local candy shop.
Not only does chocolate pale in comparison to jewelry, flowers and homemade gifts as consumers’ preferred Valentine’s Day gifts, but also most specially marked Valentine’s Day chocolates are more expensive than regularly packaged chocolates.

We know this because we used the Indix Product API to analyze some top chocolate brands and how they price their chocolates around Valentine’s Day compared to other days of the year. What we found was interesting.

Here’s a remarkable point about the assortment. The product count and percentage of gift and Valentine products is relatively proportional for Godiva, Lindt and Ghirardelli. However, we can see that even though the overall product count of gift products for Ferrero Rocher is pretty low, it forms a very high percentage of their total assortment. Russell Stover leads the charge when it comes to specifically Valentine-related assortment with the most products containing the words “valentine”, “heart” and “valentine heart” in their title.

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In terms of pricing, Valentine-related assortment from Ferrero Rocher, Ghirardelli, Godiva and Russell Stover is more expensive based on price per ounce than chocolates that didn’t contain the words “valentine”, “gift”, or “heart” in their title (see below).

While the average price of Godiva chocolates is more expensive than any of the other brands we analyzed, Godiva chocolates are the biggest offenders of costing more for being specially labeled as “Valentine.” In fact, Valentine-related Godiva products are $1.00 more expensive per ounce than standard Godiva chocolates. A regular non-Valentine product from Godiva costs around $2.00 per ounce on average, whereas a Godiva “Gift” or “Valentine” chocolate is nearly $3.00 per ounce.

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A standard Ghirardelli chocolate is about $1.35 per ounce and when it is marked as a “Valentine” or “gift” product, it costs closer to $1.50 per ounce. The other offenders, Ferrero Rocher and Russell Stover, saw about a $0.15 and $0.25 difference respectively as well.

In comparison, Hershey’s, Lindt and M&M products that contained “Valentine” or “Gift” in the product name were less expensive than products without it. Regular Hershey’s chocolates cost around $0.80 per ounce, but Valentine Hershey’s chocolate dropped in price to $0.50 per ounce. M&M’s face a similar decrease in price between Valentine and non-Valentine products.

While there’s no way to know if the price of the chocolate comes from the brand, the manufacturer or the retailer, there is a stark difference between the cost of Valentine-related products from brands like Godiva, Ferrero Rocher, Ghirardelli and Russell Stover. We could speculate that the price markup is due to the fancy packaging that these brands use for their special occasion gift and Valentine products.

So when you’re in the market for Valentine’s Day gifts this week, keep in mind that if you’re shopping for chocolate, you’ll save more money by shopping on a per-ounce basis and steering clear of Valentine-specific products for most brands.

As you do this, your loved ones and your wallet will thank you.

Note: All the statistical and data analysis for this study was done by our Product Data Analyst Weiwei Shang.

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