2011-02-03 / Features

Love Is Booming This Valentine’s Day

Love is more than just in the air this Valentine's Day season; it's springing forth from people's wallets. Indeed, total holiday spending is expected to reach $15.7 billion – a marked jump from last year.

The average person will shell out $116.21 on traditional Valentine's Day merchandise this year, up 11 percent over last year's $103, according to the National Retail Federation's 2011 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.

“Having surpassed expectations during the holiday season, it seems consumers are not done spending on gifts, which bodes well for the economy,” said the Federation's president and CEO, Matthew Shay. “Jewelry, candy and apparel sales should provide a nice boost for retailers during the typically slower months of January and February.”

Having cut back on spending in recent years, couples this year say they will spend an average of $68.98 on their significant other or spouse, up from $63.34 last year. Even family pets will be feeling more of the love this year. The average person will spend $5.04 on his or her furry friends, up from $3.27 last year.

Consumers will also spend an average of $6.30 on friends, $4.97 on classmates and teachers, and $3.41 on co-workers.

As usual, men will spend the most on Valentine’s Day gifts. The average man plans to shell out more than twice as much ($158.71) as the average woman ($75.79) – perhaps suggesting men are ignoring the “it’s the thought that counts” sentiment this year.

Not surprisingly, greeting cards will be the most popular gift option, as 52.1 percent of those surveyed report they will be purchasing the romantic missives. Jewelry also is expected to be a big hit, with 17.3 percent planning on buying their loved ones something sparkly, up from 15.5 percent last year.

The survey also found spending across the board is expected to be up this year. Consumers will shell out $3.5 billion on jewelry this Valentine's Day, up from an estimated $3 billion last year. Clothing ($1.6 billion vs. $1.5 billion in 2010) and dining out ($3.4 billion vs. $3.3 billion in 2010) will also be popular gift options. Additionally, celebrants will spend $1.7 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy and $1.1 billion on greeting cards.

“Though the economy will still be on their minds, Valentine’s Day holds a special place in many Americans hearts,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch, which conducted the survey. “Some may opt for a quiet night out or a home cooked meal to keep costs down, but it seems there are others who are a little more interested in a nice night on the town.”

The NRF 2011 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine's Day and polled 8,913 consumers.

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