Love by the Numbers

PETALING JAYA: With more lovebirds expected to go digital to celebrate their love for each other, this year's Valentine’s Day is also a yardstick for businesses on how to monetise the annual celebration online and through e-commerce.

With inter-state and inter-district travel still not allowed during the movement control order (MCO), Sunway University economics professor Yeah Kim Leng said this would mean that many couples were unable to celebrate Valentine's Day with their loved ones in person.

“It will be a muted celebration because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the MCO that limits people from gathering.

"There will certainly be a drop in sales for many related businesses.

“We will likely see online businesses flourish to become the preferred channel of spending for Valentine’s Day, especially for couples who are separated by distance.

“The festivity and pomp of the day will be less compared to before.

"Couples will have to go online but this will depend on how businesses design their products and services to attract customers online, ” he said in an interview.

Prof Yeah said the digital platform would be a good medium to bridge the gap left by the pandemic and MCO, adding that businesses would take the opportunity to increase the volume and target promotions as well as events for the celebration.

“It will be interesting this year as we will see how virtual celebration is done and how businesses are able to capitalise on the trend.

“We may see new events being carried out virtually. For the economist, it will be an eye-opener on how the digital means of monetising the event works.

“We are interested to see how businesses monetise the celebration through e-commerce and Internet, ” he said.

As Valentine’s Day celebration has been around in Malaysia for decades, Prof Yeah said it was typical to see more spending for chocolates, flowers and personal gifts reflecting the significance of the day.

However, over the years, Valentine’s Day had also evolved as a time for family and friends to express their love, he said.

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