Truth be told, Valentine’s Day—like any other celebration that involves giving gifts—can be viewed in extremes.
The mega-rich might consider this package: An eight-course dinner at your mansion by a Michelin-starred chef, a harpist, a poet, doves and a price tag of $99,300.
The other 99%, whose median annual income would pay for just half of that feast, will likely stick to flowers, candy, jewelry or dinner.
Even so, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $17.3 billion this year. The average person will dish out $133.91 for those nearest and dearest to their hearts. Both figures are slightly above those in 2013.
Cautious consumers are expected to shop smart and do whatever it takes to find the biggest bang for their bucks this Valentine’s Day—even if it involves clipping Groupons or searching the Internet for the best deals. In fact, research by Proper Insights and Analytics revealed that just 54% of Americans will celebrate the day at all, compared to 60% in 2013.
Here are 3 Valentine’s Day stocks relating to gifts, shopping, dining and romance that just might be sweet in your portfolio.
Here’s one for people seeking a romantic restaurant meal at an appetizing price. Consumers and investors love instant gratification and LiveDeal (LIVE) is delivering it to both groups.
This e-commerce company is led by the same entrepreneurs that brought the print yellow pages to the Internet. LIVE stock is up 325% this year alone.
People looking for great deals on restaurants are heading there in droves. Traffic to the Las Vegas-based company’s web sites shot up 153% in January compared to the same month a year ago.
That gain came largely due to LiveDeal’s launch of DealCentral, the world’s first online portal that gives restaurants a low-cost way to advertise directly to consumers by making “live” limited-time offers instead of having to deal with fee-heavy third parties. It’s a welcome service for a business already wrought with thin profit margins. Based on geo-location, LiveDeal also made a push into the San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco markets in January.
LiveDeal already caters to more than 1,000 restaurants in the San Diego area, or about 20% of the market.
On top of its online business, LiveDeal will be providing access through Apple iOS and Android apps by the end of first quarter 2014.
It is a first of its kind service for the $680 billion food and beverage industry.
According to Analyst Rob Goldman, “Wall Street has really taken notice of since the first of the year, sending shares sharply higher to a January high of $25.73. A small consolidation has shares back to $17 per share, presenting a unique opportunity to take a look at LiveDeal while it still trades at a favorable valuation relative to its peers.
The $65.8 million company has yet to turn a profit, however, analysts believe that its innovative business model can make that happen in the short term.
Consumers are more frugal than ever, even when shopping for romantic gifts. Thus, the appeal of RetailMeNot (SALE), the world’s largest digital coupon marketplace, which is growing by leaps and bounds. This $2.1 billion company went public in July of 2013 and gets high scores from consumers for its coupons and deals at a wide range of retailers.
RetailMeNot recently reported fourth-quarter net revenue rose 55% to $78.5 million from a year earlier, and net income for the quarter climbed 79% to $13.8 million. After announcing the stellar results, SALE’s share price soared 15% in one day. The stock is up 45% year-to-date.
For full-year 2013, RetailMeNot’s total sales of $209.8 million were up 45% compared to 2012, while mobile revenues jumped 213% to $26.6 million. In 2013, more than 13.7 million apps had been downloaded internationally, including RetailMeNot, VoucherCodes and Poulpeo. Over the quarter, the company’s mobile app sessions totaled 116.5 million, nearly seven times the fourth quarter a year earlier.
RetailMeNot, Inc. had more than 500 million visits to its websites in the past year; it operates properties in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and France.
Where would singles be without online dating? More than 1.8 million subscribers pay to use IAC/Interactive’s (IACI) core dating sites—Match.com and OkCupid. In fact, its online dating division sales grew 12% to $203.9 million in fourth-quarter 2013 from a year ago.
The best numbers may be yet to come for the $5.4 billion company based in New York. Data from Google Analytics, The Nielsen Company, and Experian Simmons suggests that online dating traffic doesn’t go up on Valentine’s Day, but actually peaks several days after. For instance, Match.com sees a 25%-30% uptick in membership during its peak season, Dec. 25 through Feb. 14, each year, which sells its most popular six-month package for around $20 per month.
Unfortunately, online-dating gains for fourth-quarter 2013 were offset by declining revenue in the company’s other major divisions. Revenue from IAC’s search business, which includes Ask.com, About.com and Dictionary.com, fell 8% to $373 million.
IAC expects its online dating business to continue to grow as the “stigma against online dating continues to decline.” The company now offers singles’ events through its dating websites, as well as mobile dating apps such as Tinder.