Survey: Retailers will love Valentine’s Day spending this year

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Survey: Retailers will love Valentine’s Day spending this year

By Dan Berthiaume - 02/08/2019
Score one for love, according to results of a new survey on consumer Valentine’s Day plans.

Results of an annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics indicate Americans are expected to spend a record amount on Valentine’s Day this year, despite a years-long decrease in the percentage of people celebrating the holiday.

Those surveyed said they would spend an average $161.96. That’s up 13% from last year’s $143.56 and tops the previous record of $146.84 set in 2016. Total spending is expected to be $20.7 billion, which is an increase of 6% over last year’s $19.6 billion and breaks the previous record of $19.7 billion, also set in 2016.

These anticipated spending increases come even though only 51% of Americans plan to celebrate the holiday, down from 55% last year and a high of 63% in 2007. The NRF says it is unclear why the number of consumers celebrating has trended downward over the past 12 years, but spending, while varying with the economy, has generally trended up. The lowest spending during the period was $102.50 in 2009 during the Great Recession.

Of the $18.40 increase in average spending, $4.26 comes from spending on spouses and significant others, which is expected to total $93.24. Consumers said they would spend $29.87 on other family members, up $4.58; $9.78 on friends, up $2.59; $8.63 on children’s classmates or teachers, up $1.37; $7.78 on co-workers, up $2.99; $6.94 on pets, up $1.44 and $5.72 on others, up $1.17.

As in each year of the survey, men are the biggest spenders at $229.54, up 20% from last year. That’s more than double the $97.77 women said they would spend, which is down 1%, and is within the survey’s margin of error.

Among age groups, those 35-44 are the biggest Valentine spenders at $279.14, followed by those 25-34 at $239.07. NRF analysis shows both groups typically have more people to buy for including children and children’s classmates or teachers.

Gifts for pets continue to be popular, purchased by 20%. Pet spending is expected to total $886 million, up $519 million since NRF first asked in 2008.

Those celebrating plan to spend $3.9 billion on jewelry (given by 18%), $3.5 billion on an evening out (34%), $2.1 billion on clothing (18%), $1.9 billion on flowers (35%), $1.8 billion on candy (52%), $1.3 billion on gift cards (15%) and $933 million on greeting cards (44%). Gifts of experience such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa are wanted by 40% and planned to be given by 25%.

Department stores are the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, visited by 35% of shoppers, followed by discount stores (32%), online (27%), specialty stores (18%) florists (16%), small or local businesses (14%), jewelry stores and specialty clothing stores (each 9%).

The survey of 7,384 adults 18 and older was conducted January 2-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

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