Despite getting pinched by inflation and recession fears, spending by Americans is expected to hold up reasonably well for Valentine’s Day.
A projected $25.9 billion will be spent on flowers, candy, cards, jewelry and other gifts and experiences related to the occasion, up from $23.9 billion in 2022, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Results from the survey, which queried 7,616 U.S. adults from Jan. 3 through 11, were released Wednesday.
Fifty-two percent of consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day and spend an average of $192.80, according to the survey. This is up from $175.41 in 2022, and is the second-highest figure since NRF and Prosper started tracking Valentine’s Day spending in 2004.
While consumers may be willing to spend more this year for Valentine’s Day to show their love, inflation, at 6.5 percent as of last December, would be a factor in the increased spend.
“NRF’s Valentine’s Day survey does not account for inflation as it is based on consumer spending plans,” an NRF spokeswoman told WWD. “Consumers don’t necessarily factor inflation into their estimations for what they will spend on a specific event.
“One reason for the increase in spending is due to the 14 to 26 percent increase in purchasers in some categories/ In addition to their normal spend on gifts for significant others and family members, more consumers are planning to buy gifts for teachers, friends, coworkers and pets and they are planning to spend more on these purchases, which is what drove both the per person and the total number.”
The NRF characterized Valentine’s Day spending on significant others and family members as “in line with last year” and indicated that many consumers are looking to show appreciation for the other meaningful relationships in their lives. Of the $17 increase in per-person spending, $14 comes from gifts for pets, friends and coworkers, along with classmates or teachers, the NRF indicated.
Those aged 35 to 44 plan to outspend other age groups, allocating $335.71 on average for gifts and other Valentine’s Day items, approximately $142.91 more than the average consumer celebrating the holiday, according to the survey results.
“Similar to recent years, the top shopping destination to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts is online (35 percent), closely followed by department stores (34 percent), discount stores (31 percent) and specialty stores (18 percent),” the NRF indicated.
The top gifts include candy (57 percent), greeting cards (40 percent), flowers (37 percent), an evening out (32 percent), jewelry (21 percent), gift cards (20 percent) and clothing (19 percent).
In other projections, Americans plan to spend more than $5.5 billion on jewelry and nearly $4.4 billion on a evening out for Valentine’s Day. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed plan to give a gift involving a experience, up from 26 percent last year and the highest since NRF and Prosper started asking that question in 2017.
“Men, in particular, are more likely to give a gift of experience compared with last year,” said Phil Rist, Prosper Insight’s executive vice president of strategy, in a statement. “Another notable finding is more than half of consumers say they will take advantage of sales and promotions as they celebrate Valentine’s Day this year.”
Among those who don’t plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a loved one, 28 percent will mark the occasion in some way, seeking non-Valentine’s gifts, treating themselves to something special or planning a get-together or evening out with single friends and family members.