Valentine’s Day Spending to Hit $19.7B

WASHINGTON – Consumers will spend $146.84  on average for flowers, jewelry, candy and other tokens of affection this Valentine’s Day, the National Retail Federation projects.

Conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, NRF’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey projects spending on the holiday will surpass last year’s $142.31 average and reach $19.7 billion, a survey high.

The poll of 7,293 consumers was conducted from Jan. 5-12 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

According to the survey, 54.8% of consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day. More than a third (34.5%) will shop at department stores and slightly fewer (31%) will choose a discount store. Additionally, 27.9% plan to shop online, 19.4% will visit a florist, 19.1% will visit a specialty store, and 15.4% will shop small at a local, small business.

“As the first major consumer holiday of 2016, Valentine’s Day could provide a positive boost in spending our economy needs,” said Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO. “Low gas prices and guaranteed promotions from retailers large and small should help consumers as they look for the perfect gift for their friends and family. Looking ahead, we’re optimistic consumers are in a good place when it comes to spending on discretionary items like gifts.”

Half of consumers surveyed said they plan to buy candy, spending a total of $1.7 billion. Nearly four in 10 of those celebrating the holiday (38.3%) plan to treat their dates to a night out at a restaurant, tickets to a show or another experience, spending a record total of $4.5 billion, the highest since NRF began tracking spending on gifts in 2010.

Another $4.4 billion will be spent on necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items, with nearly one in five (19.9%) planning to treat their significant other or family member to something precious; nearly half (47.9%) of those celebrating will spend $1.1 billion on greeting cards. Additionally, an estimated $2 billion will be spent on apparel and $1.9 billion will be spent on flowers.

In addition, 90.8% of consumers said they would buy something for their significant other/spouse and are planning to spend an average of $89.86, up from $87.94 last year. Total spending on significant others/spouses is expected to reach $12 billion.

Consumers also will spend an average of $27.79 on other family members like children and parents, $7.08 on children’s classmates and teachers and $5.83 on co-workers. Spending on pets for the holiday is expected to reach $681 million.

Of those surveyed, 24% said they plan to give a gift of experience such as tickets to a concert, a spa service or an art lesson, while nearly four in 10 (38.8%) said that they would love to receive a gift of experience.

“With the winter holidays behind us, consumers may have a little more room in their budget to indulge on gifts for their loved ones,” said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper’s principal analyst. “This year we expect consumers will look for unique and creative gifts, including that extra special ‘experience’ that can be shared any time throughout the year. Even those on a tight budget can find affordable ways to create a special moment with each other even past Valentine’s Day.”

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