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NRF: Valentine's Day spending estimated at $185 per person

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Valentine’s Day spending is expected to hit a new record this year, according to new data from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

NRF’s 2024 Valentine’s Day report found that 53% of consumers plan to celebrate, and overall, consumers plan to spend a total of $25.8 billion to celebrate the holiday, a number on par with last year’s estimate from NRF. Consumers expect to spend $185.81 each on average, nearly $8 more than the average Valentine’s Day spending over the last five years.

“Retailers are ready to help customers this Valentine’s Day with meaningful and memorable gifts,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With consumers prioritizing their spouse or significant other this year, retailers expect to see a shift in spending for certain gifting categories.”

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Valentine's Day spending
Graph courtesy of NRF.
Valentine's Day spending
Graph courtesy of NRF.

According to the survey, candy (57%), greeting cards (40%), flowers (39%), an evening out (32%), jewelry (22%), clothing (21%) and gift cards (19%) are the top Valentine’s Day gift ideas. New spending records are expected for jewelry ($6.4 billion), flowers ($2.6 billion), clothing ($3 billion) and an evening out ($4.9 billion).

“While shoppers may be spending the most on jewelry, overall, the most popular gifts are the classics – candy and greeting cards,” said Phil Rist, EVP of strategy at Prosper Insights & Analytics. “We’re also seeing continued interest in gifts of experience with about one-third of consumers planning to give a gift of experience this year.”

Online shopping continues to be the most popular method to shop for Valentine’s Day gifts at 40%, up from 35% last year. Consumers also plan to head to department stores (33%), discount stores (31%) and florists (17%) for their holiday needs.

More than six-in-10 (62%) of consumers ages 25-34 plan to celebrate this year, more than any other age group. Among those not celebrating Valentine’s Day, 29% still plan to mark the occasion in some way, with many of those surveyed saying they will treat themselves to something special, while others will plan a get-together or evening out with their single friends or family members. 

According to a recent survey from Trustpilot, 33% of Americans in relationships reported that they expect inflation and the rising cost of goods will force them to cut Valentine’s Day spending by about 50% less compared to 2023.

The survey, conducted Jan. 2 - 8, asked 8,329 adult consumers about their Valentine’s Day shopping plans.

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