Following a strong holiday season, Americans are expected to set another record for Valentine’s Day spending this year as they continue to widen the range of those they’re buying for, according to NRF.
“Valentine’s Day is a sentimental tradition, but gift-giving can be driven by the economy,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The same strong employment numbers and higher wages that boosted holiday sales should make it easier to spend a little extra to say ‘I love you’ this year and to spread the gift-giving beyond just your significant other.”
Those celebrating the holiday said they plan to spend on average $196.31, up 21% over last year’s previous record of $161.96. Total spending is expected to reach $27.4 billion, up 32% from last year’s record-setting $20.7 billion.
The unusually large increase in average spending appears to be influenced by strong consumer finances and a continued trend of consumers buying more gifts, cards, candy and flowers for friends, family, co-workers, and pets. The increase in total spending comes as the number of people celebrating Valentine’s Day returned to 55%, about average for the past decade, after a dip to 51% last year. The biggest share of Valentine’s spending still goes to spouses and significant others at 52% of the total, or an average $101.21 this year, up from $93.24 in 2019.
Yet their share of the spending is down from 61% a decade ago. The share spent on most other recipients has gone up over the past decade, with the amount spent on co-workers, for example, more than doubling to 7%. The share for pets has also doubled to 6%.
Consumers say they will spend an average $30.19 on family members other than spouses, up slightly from $29.87 last year; $14.69 on friends, up from $9.78; $14.45 on children’s classmates and teachers, up from $8.63; $12.96 on co-workers, up from $7.78; $12.21 on pets, up from $6.94, and $10.60 on others, up from $5.72. A record 27% say they will buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets, up from 17% in 2010 for a total of $1.7 billion.
“We’ve always heard of puppy love, but pets are definitely seeing a larger share of Valentine’s Day spending,” says Phil Rist, prosper insights EVP of strategy.
Shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry (given by 21%), $4.3 billion on an evening out (34%), $2.9 billion on clothing (20%), $2.4 billion on candy (52%), $2.3 billion on flowers (37%), $2 billion on gift cards (19%), and $1.3 billion on greeting cards (43%). Gifts of experience such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa are wanted by 41% and planned by 28%.
Department stores are the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, visited by 36%, with discount stores and online tied at 32%, specialty stores at 19%, florists at 17%, local small business at 15% and clothing stores and jewelry shops tied at 11%.
The Valentine’s Day survey results follow a 4.1% year-over-year increase in 2019 holiday sales, nearly double the 2.1% increase in 2018 holiday sales.