Jewelry will be a popular gift on Valentine’s Day

Jewelry will again be a popular gift for Valentine’s Day with more men planning to spend on adornments than the previous year, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

More than 22 percent of men said they will be purchasing jewelry this Valentine’s Day, up from 18 percent the previous year, according to the 2006 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch for NRF. All totaled, 14.6 percent of consumers surveyed will buy jewelry for the holiday.

According to the survey, the average consumer will spend $100.89 on Valentine’s Day, up slightly from $97.27 the previous year. About 61 percent of consumers are planning to celebrate the holiday, total 2006 Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $13.70 billion, an increase from $13.19 billion in 2005.

Men will be the biggest spenders this Valentine’s Day, with the average male spending $135.67, almost double the $68.64 that the average female will spend. When it comes to picking out that perfect gift, fewer men will be buying flowers (52.3 % vs. 57.8% in 2005) and more will be purchasing jewelry for that special someone.

Greeting cards once again remain a holiday favorite for both sexes. According to the survey, 62.0 percent of consumers plan to purchase at least one card for the holiday. Close to half of consumers will celebrate by buying candy (47.1%) or enjoying an evening out with their sweetheart (42.1%). Other popular gifts include flowers (32.9%), and gift cards/gift certificates (10.9%).

“When it comes to shopping for their special someone on Valentine’s Day, consumers turn to more sentimental gifts,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO. “Retailers know that traditional Valentine’s gifts, including candy, cards, jewelry, and flowers will remain holiday favorites and they stock their shelves accordingly.”

This year consumers will dedicate the bulk of their Valentine’s Day budget to buying for their sweetheart, with the average person planning to spend $64.63 on their significant other or spouse. Consumers also plan to spend $20.74 on other family members, $5.06 on friends, $3.52 on children’s classmates and teachers, and $2.56 on co-workers. An additional $4.38 will be spent on other people, such as neighbors and babysitters.

Middle-aged consumers will be the most generous this Valentine’s Day, spending more than any other category this year. According to the survey, consumers aged 45-54 will spend $128.78 each, up from $118.11 the previous year and considerably higher than the $88.96 the group spent in 2004. Young adults 18-24 will spend $81.89 this year, having drastically cut-back their Valentine’s spending the past two years ($83.50 in 2005 and $154.65 in 2004).