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When it comes to online spending, Super Bowl LVI trounces Valentine’s Day 2022

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The NFL Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day clashed this week, landing on consecutive days for the first time ever. And when it comes to wallet share, there was a clear victor: Super Bowl LVI — hands down.

In the two weeks leading up to the odd combination of heart-warming romance and blood-lust sports spectacle, online shoppers spent three times as much on Super Bowl-related products as they did on traditional Valentine’s Day items, according to Signifyd’s Ecommerce Pulse data.

When it came to a choice between a mid-winter pause for poetry, candy, flowers and love or the sports world’s annual adrenaline-fueled festival of ferocity and brutal bone-crunching, consumers chose bone-crunching.

Football is romantic, isn’t it?

In fact, U.S. football fans shelled out an average of $473 on Super Bowl staples like chicken wings, guacamole and chips, bean dip, party trays and the occasional giant, flat-screen T.V. in the lead up to the game.

Map of the US displaying average cart size for Super Bowl purchases by state

Meanwhile, love interests and life partners managed only an average tab of $156 on thoughtful Valentine’s gifts, such as fashion and accessories, luxury goods and cosmetics and pampering products.

US map displaying average cart size of Valentine's Day spending by state

For those who care to dwell on such things, we can tell you that consumers in Texas and Alabama were the big Super Bowl spenders (averaging $799.50 and $816.63 respectively). 

Oregon and New Hampshire were the standouts in the romance-spending category ($205.83 and $209.89 respectively).

A list of the top spending Valentine's Day states

And honestly, for fans of romance, the trend lines are not good. Not only did a football game — albeit one adorned with Roman numerals that typically attracts 100 million viewers — dominate consumer spending, but the Valentine’s Day enthusiasts are apparently running low on enthusiasm. 

Valentine’s Day just isn’t showing that Super Bowl kind of magic

While spending on Super Bowl-enhancing goods — electronics, groceries and home goods (barcalounger, anyone?) — was up 84% over Super Bowl LV, Valentine’s Day MDXXVI (debuted in 496 AD), sadly, saw spending up only 7% over 2021, according to February sales in the fashion, cosmetics and luxury goods categories. 

The story is even sadder if you dig into the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, things like flowers, chocolates, other candy and products with “Valentine’s” or a variation in its name. Looking at those venerable go-tos, overall Valentine’s spending was down 35% year-over-year in the first two weeks of February. 

Social media warned us that the Super-Bowl-plus-Valentine’s-Day pairing was a combustible combination. When the NFL extended its season by a game this year and it became evident that Super Bowl weekend and Valentine’s Day weekend would be one in the same, Tik Tok noticed.

The proactive police department in Whitman, Massachusetts posted a reminder to folks not to get so caught up in Super Bowl preparations that they forget to gather gifts for their love interests. And while the post was aimed at males, we all know that sports fanaticism is not gender-exclusive. 

When in doubt, go with chicken wings

So, if significant others were saving money on Valentine’s Day gifts this year and splurging on Super Bowl-related items, just where did that money go?

Chicken wings. But you knew that. And little smoked sausages. And barbecue sauce and hot sauce and everything you’ve ever eaten or passed over if you’ve ever been to a Super Bowl party. Sales of chicken wings of various styles, heat, and state of readiness, increased anywhere from 79% to 104% during the week leading to the big game, according to Signifyd’s data. Sales of smoked sausages, the foundation of pigs in a blanket with a twist, were up 202%, marking perhaps a new Super Bowl snacking trend.

A list of the most purchased Super Bowl foods, according to Signifyd Pulse data

Sausages aside, the familiar grub from the Super Bowl Noshing Hall of Fame continued their years of high-performance. Bean dip sales were up 189%, while sales of fresh guacamole and guacamole in a ready-to-serve bowl shot up 92% and 87% respectively during the week of Feb. 7, compared to the previous week. 

Tortilla chips, of the scoop variety, rocketed up 88%, but they were outdone by more pedestrian potato chips which soared 95% during Super Bowl week.

If there is any consolation out there for the hopelessly romantic, it is that a significant proportion of significant others appeared to at least make an effort — a late, heroic and expensive effort. True to form last year, traditional Valentine’s Day purchases this year moved dramatically into more expensive territory as Feb. 14 approached. 

By creating a baseline of the average cost of traditional gifts, such as flowers and candy, available in the market, Signifyd was able to gauge the generosity of those buying such gifts during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.

For instance, on Friday the average cart size for traditional Valentines-related orders registered 108% above the average cost of Valentine’s Day-related goods available. By Saturday, those orders were 118% above average. On Super Bowl Sunday (also known as Valentine’s Day Eve) that figure dropped to 47% higher than average.

After all, chicken wings aren’t free and the money to buy them had to come from somewhere. 

Signifyd Data Analyst Phleim Killough contributed to this report. Photo by Getty Images

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Mike Cassidy

Mike Cassidy

Mike is the head of storytelling at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at [email protected].