Studies say Valentine spending will go up

Valentine's Day gifts

Americans will spend more on Valentine's Day gifts this year. Image: on_the_wings/Flickr/CC BY

Spending for Valentine’s Day is expected to be up from last year, according to two independent surveys from the National Retail Federation and American Express. Also, men will outspend women by double, says the NRF study.

Highest number in survey history

The NRF’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, estimates that the average shopper will spend $126.03 on Valentine’s Day gifts. That is 8.5 percent higher than in 2011, and the highest figure ever for the decade-old annual survey.

The survey said that 50.5 percent of consumers will buy their significant other candy. Flowers are on 36 percent of Valentine’s Day shopping lists. Thirty-five percent will give the gift of an evening out and 18.9 percent plan to buy jewelry.

Men spend more

The study, that polled 8,913 consumers, estimated that $17.6 million will be spent on the holiday this year. And men will be forking out about two-thirds of that money. The survey says that the average man will spend $168.74 on gifts, as opposed to the $85.76 that the average woman will lay down.

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More consumers will also be using smartphones and tablet devices to comparison shop and research gifts, according to the NRF.

The largest spending will be on gifts for significant others. The average consumer will put down $74.12 on a gift for his or her partner. Another $25.25 will be spent on other family members and $4.52 on a gift for that special pet.

Matthew Shay, the NRF’s president and CEO, said the survey is an indicator of an improving economy:

“As one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication our economy continues to move in the right direction. Anticipating high foot traffic in the coming weeks, retailers have replenished their inventories and will entice eager shoppers with great deals on everything from special menu items at restaurants to clothing to flowers and, of course, chocolates.”

American Express survey

Amex’s Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey estimates that gift-spending will be even higher. Its survey says the average gift buyer this year will spend $196.

The poll of 2,000 consumers also found that travel plans will be big for lovers this year. “Engagementcations” — vacations designed to pop the question — are a rising popular trend. Amex expects 4 million couples to get engaged on this lover’s holiday.

Amex’s manager of public affairs, Melanie Backs, said the figures are consistent with a recent trend:

“Consumers have been consistent in saying they have a little more spending power, despite the uncertainty of the economy. We’ve seen this in our surveys over the last few months — from Halloween to [the] holidays and even travel — and Valentine’s Day is right in line with that trend.”


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