As soon as Christmas tears down at retail Valentine’s Day goes up, yet 78% of those who celebrate Valentine’s Day plan to shop a week or less before Cupid’s arrows fly, and still many wait until February 13 or 14 to purchase, finds recent snacking research by The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Women do not begin their Valentine’s Day shopping much earlier than men; one in three female buyers (32%) wraps up her shopping Feb. 13 or 14 and 47% of men made their final Valentine’s Day purchase on Feb. 13 or 14, according to NPD’s SnackTrack Holidays Valentine’s Day Profile.

An estimated 185 million individuals – including 70 million women and 59 million men – celebrate Valentine’s Day. While a nearly universal 92% of celebrating adults indicated plans to get someone a Valentine’s Day gift, four of five celebrants (80%) actually followed through and gave one, reports NPD’s snacking research. Even outpacing greeting cards, the most common gift was candy, given by 38% of adults and 47% of teen gifters. By a wide margin, the leading candy was boxed chocolates, given by 55% of adult candy buyers and 45% of teens. Supermarkets and discount stores are the primary channels for Valentine’s Day purchases. Consumers say that they choose these channels for convenience purposes.

“With the shopping cycle more compressed for Valentine’s Day than for Christmas, there is a heightened need for a simplified shopping experience,” says Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst. “Having Valentine’s Day items all in one spot and offering all-in-one bundles of cards and gifts will help these last minute shoppers.”