spending-valentines-dayLove is in the air as U.S. consumer spending on gifts is expected to increase 32 percent this Valentine’s Day according to a new survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

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 the annual survey released last week by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Those celebrating the holiday plan to spend an average $196.31 this year.

The growth comes as the number of people celebrating the holiday this year returns to 55 percent, about average for the decade, following a dip to 51 percent last year. Consumers are also buying for a wider range of people, including coworkers, friends and pets.

Why the increase?

“Valentine’s Day is a sentimental tradition, but gift-giving can be driven by the economy,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said recently. Consumers spent freely during the 2019 winter holidays and they appear ready to do the same in the new year, largely due to strong employment numbers and higher wages that boosted holiday sales.

Survey says …

The biggest share of Valentine’s spending still goes to spouses and significant others at 52 percent of the total, or an average $101.21 this year, up from $93.24 in 2019. But, their share of the spending is down from 61 percent a decade ago.

The share spent on most other recipients has gone up over the past decade, with the amount spent on co-workers more than doubling to 7 percent of the total from 3 percent. The share for pets has also doubled, to 6 percent from 3 percent in the same time period.

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.

Of those surveyed, 27 percent say they will buy gifts for their pets, the highest figure in the history of the survey and up from 17 percent in 2010 for a total $1.7 billion.

The youngest Valentine’s shoppers surveyed — those ages 18-24 — plan to spend an average $109.31. But those 25-34 — old enough to have higher incomes and children to buy for — expect to spend $307.51 and are topped out by those 35-44 as the biggest spenders at $358.78. As in each year of the survey, men plan to spend more than women at $291.15 compared with $106.22.

Where people are shopping

Shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry (given by 21 percent), $4.3 billion on an evening out (34 percent), $2.9 billion on clothing (20 percent), $2.4 billion on candy (52 percent), $2.3 billion on flowers (37 percent), $2 billion on gift cards (19 percent) and $1.3 billion on greeting cards (43 percent). Gifts of experience, such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa, are wanted by 41 percent and planned by 28 percent.

Department stores are the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, visited by 36 percent, with discount stores and online tied at 32 percent, specialty stores at 19 percent, florists at 17 percent, local small business at 15 percent and clothing stores and jewelry shops tied at 11 percent.

The Valentine’s Day survey results follow a 4.1 percent year-over-year increase in 2019 holiday sales, nearly double the 2.1 percent increase in 2018 holiday sales.

Spending may be up on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, but it doesn’t mean you need to spend more for what you want. Visit Empire Jeweler’s eBay store for great prices on fine jewelry. With true wholesale prices and many choices on sale, why pay retail?

Source: National Retail Federation (NRF)