Jewelry to Fall Slightly as Valentine’s Day Gift

The average consumer plans to spend $122.98 on Valentine’s Day, similar to last year’s $119.67, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Total spending on Valentine’s Day is expected to reach $17.02 billion.

Traditional gifts, such as candy, flowers, and jewelry will see a slight decrease in popularity this year with more consumers preferring gifts of experience and gift cards, according to the NRF Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch.

More than 48 percent of all consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special night out, compared to 45.3 percent last year. More than 12 percent of respondents will give a gift card, compared to 11.3 percent last year. Greeting cards still remain the most popular choice, though the number of people planning to purchase one is down from last year (56.8% vs. 62.8% last year). Nearly 48 percent of consumers will buy candy, 35.9 percent will buy flowers, and 11.8 percent will buy clothing.

“Valentine’s Day is a great time to get creative with gift options,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF president and chief executive officer. “Most people agree that it’s the thought that counts, but shelves will also be filled with traditional gifts for those who want to celebrate the old-fashioned way.”

Six out of ten consumers plan on celebrating this year, and of those celebrating, the majority plan on spending the most on their significant other or spouse ($79.99). The survey also found that consumers plan to spend slightly more on friends ($5.75 vs. $4.93 in 2007), children’s classmates and teachers ($4.05 vs. $3.35), and co-workers ($3.02 vs. $2.40) than they did last year.

When it comes to real puppy love, 17.2 percent of celebrators also plan to spend on their pets this Valentine’s Day. Spending on pets for the holiday is estimated to reach $367 million.

Men will dish out the most this year, spending an average of $163.37 on gifts and cards, compared to an average of $84.72 spent by women.

“Consumers are expected to invest time and money on gifts of experience this year, in addition to staple Valentine’s Day gifts,” said Phil Rist, BIGresearch vice president of Strategy. “Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a night out on the town, consumers are looking for quality rather than quantity.”

Adults aged 25-34 plan on spending the most this year with the average person planning to shell out $160.37. Young adults will be the second biggest spenders, with the average 18-24 year old expected to spend $145.59, followed by 45-54 year olds ($117.91), 35-44 year olds ($116.35), and 55-64 year olds ($110.97).