Valentine’s Day Spending Expected to Reach $18.2 Billion

WASHINGTON – Valentine’s Day spending is expected to drop from last year’s record-high, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, totaling $18.2 billion.

Last year, spending for the holiday reached $19.7 billion and the average consumer spent $146.84, also a record. This year, the average is projected to be $136.57.

“Valentine’s Day continues to be a popular gift-giving occasion even if consumers are being more frugal this year,” said federation President and CEO Matthew Shay in a release. “This is one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care regardless of their budget. Consumers will find that retailers recognize that their customers are looking for the best deals and will offer good bargains just as they did during the holiday season.”

The survey also found that the number of people planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day has dropped 13% from last year to 54%.

Most gift recipients will be significant others and spouses, 90%, while family members are the second most common at 53.8%. Nearly 20% of those surveyed said they planned on buying gifts for their pets.

Candy and cards remain the two most popular gifts, 49.7% and 46.9% respectively, while an evening out and flowers followed as the third and fourth most popular at 36.6% and 34.7%.

While it ranked a distant fifth, jewelry is expected to top the spending list, bringing in $4.3 billion nationwide. The second most spending will be in the “night out” category with $3.8 billion, followed by flowers at $2 billion and clothing at $1.9 billion.

Also popular this year, the federation noted, are “gifts of experience” such as concert tickets or vacations. Of those surveyed, 40% responded that they want an experience gift, though only 24% said they planned on giving one.

Department stores are the most popular shopping spots for Valentine’s Day as 35% of consumers surveyed said that’s where they planned to do their shopping, followed by discount stores, 32%; online, 27%; and specialty stores and florists tied for fourth most popular at 18%.

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