Valentine’s Day purchasing is expected to go up this year, with gains foreseen in apparel, jewelry and, most notably, online purchasing.

That’s the conclusion of a study on purchasing intentions for the holiday just two weeks away, on Feb. 14, conducted by BIGinsight for the National Retail Federation. More than 5,800 consumers were interviewed between Jan. 2 and Jan. 9.

NRF found that overall spending for the holiday would rise to a total of about $18.6 billion, up 5.7 percent from $17.6 billion in 2012, as the average Valentine’s Day shopper has earmarked $130.97 for gifts, 4 percent higher than last year. In an odd twist, respondents indicated they planned to spend more on gifts for other family members, friends, children’s classmates and teachers, coworkers and even pets, but less on their spouses and significant others. The latter amount, while still the greatest amount of the expected recipients covered, ticked down 0.5 percent to $73.75 from $74.12.


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The percentage of respondents intending to celebrate the holiday rose to 59.9 percent of the sample, up from 59.4 percent last year but still well below the recent high of 63.4 percent registered in 2007.

Intentions to buy were up for every category of merchandise covered, with the exception of the catchall “other” classification. More than one in seven holiday shoppers ­— 15.6 percent — included apparel on their shopping lists, up from 14.6 percent a year ago, while jewelry was up to 19.7 percent of the sample from 18.9 percent in 2012. Apparel expenditures are expected to average $11.46 per buyer, up from $10.42 a year ago, while jewelry consumers have earmarked $30.94, up from $29.60. Total spend on apparel is expected to hit $1.63 billion, up from $1.45 billion a year ago, while jewelry spending is seen hitting $4.4 billion, up from $4.12 billion last year.

The numbers refer to the amounts expected to be spent by consumers rather than actual amounts spent.


“Valentine’s Day remains one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, and although consumers will be conscientious with their spending, it’s great to see that millions of Americans are still looking forward to celebrating with their loved ones,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and chief executive officer. “Recognizing their customers will shop for both price and value, retailers and restaurants will offer plenty of promotions for anyone looking to spoil those that mean the most to them this Feb. 14.”

Discount stores remained the leading destination for Valentine’s Day shoppers, increasing their share of shoppers to 39.6 percent of the sample, while department stores were next in popularity despite seeing their expected penetration of shoppers shrink to 33.2 percent from 33.6 percent in 2012. Apparel specialty stores were checked off as an intended purchase place by 7.5 percent of the sample, up from 6.6 percent a year ago, and jewelry stores rose to 11.2 percent from 10.6 percent.

Online purchases for holiday gifts were selected by 26.3 percent of respondents, up from 19.3 percent in 2012 and exactly 10 points higher than the 16.3 percent who indicated their intentions to purchase online when distribution channels were first explored in 2010.

More than two in five smartphone owners — 40.7 percent — will use their handhelds to shop, while 46.9 percent of tablet owners will use those de­vices to purchase or research.

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