Valentine’s Day spending expected to drop from 2013 levels

Retailers may not be feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, with total spending projections are down 6.9% from 2013 as fewer consumers plan to give gifts this year.

Consumers are expected to dole out $17.3 billion in Valentine’s Day’ spending on average $133.91 this year, with that average up 2.2% from last year’s holiday, according to the National Retail Federation.

Following a holiday shopping season that did not set records for consumer spending, cautious consumers aren’t quite ready to splurge on Valentine’s Day this year, continuing to keep their budgets in check. The retail trade group reports 54% of American’s will celebrate with their loved one this year, compared to 60% in 2013.

“Valentine’s Day will continue to be a popular gift-giving event, even when consumers are frugal with their budgets. This is the one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers can expect Cupid’s holiday to resemble the promotional holiday season we saw just a few months ago, as retailers recognize that their customers are still looking for the biggest bang for their buck.” 

He said consumers will definitely stay within budgets whether shopping for candy, flower, jewelry or an evening out. Nearly half (48.7%) will buy candy, a third will give flowers (37.3%) and over half (51.2%) will send greeting cards. Another 19% plan to buy something sparkly, with projected jewelry sales of $3.9 billion this Cupid’s Day. The survey results indicate 37% plan to spend the evening out for an estimated cash outlay of $3.5 billion.

Men will spend $108.38 on gifts for their significant others – twice as much as women who will spend $49.41 on their special someone. And like every holiday, Americans won’t forget about their pets, 19% will buy gifts for their furry friends, spending an average of $5.51, according to the survey.

“While fewer are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, millions of shoppers will still make room in their discretionary budgets to send cards and gifts to loved ones or enjoy a special evening out,” says Prosper Insights and Analytics Director Pam Goodfellow. “Consumers can expect promotions on everything from flowers to date night dinner packages in the coming days, leaving plenty of ideas for those looking to spoil their Valentines.” 

She said consumers do their research and many will purchase gifts online. The survey found 26.3% of shoppers plan to shop online for Valentine’s Day gifts.

Following are some Valentine’s Day stats from the 2013 season according to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association.
• 196 million roses were produced for the holiday, with 73% of the flowers purchased by men.

• The percent of women who sent themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day: 14%.

• 180 million Valentine’s Day cards were exchanged.

• 85% of cards are purchased by women.

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• 61.8% of consumers celebrated Valentine’s Day.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, history is unclear on who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome.

“In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine Day. Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced valentine cards in the 1840s,” notes a Valentine’s Day profile from the bureau.

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