Jewelry will be a popular Valentine’s Day gift

Though consumers will be spending less on average, more people will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, providing another boost in spending to the third-largest retail holiday of the year, according to a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. Jewelry is expected to be the fifth most popular choice for gift-giving this year.

The NRF 2005 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch for NRF, found that the average consumer will spend $97.27 on Valentine’s Day, down slightly from $99.24 last year. However, 61.8% of consumers plan to celebrate the holiday, up two percent from the previous year. In all, 2005 Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $13.19 billion.

Greeting cards remain the most popular Valentine’s Day gift this year, with nearly two-thirds (66.9%) of consumers planning to purchase at least one card for the holiday, according to the survey. Nearly half of consumers will celebrate by buying candy (49.4%) or treating themselves to an evening out (47.4%). Additionally, more than half of men (57.8%) plan to buy flowers and one in five (18.1%) plan to purchase jewelry for Valentine’s Day.

Consumers will spend the majority of their Valentine’s Day budget on their sweetheart, with the average person planning to spend $58.85 on their significant other or spouse. Consumers also plan to spend $21.49 on other family members, $5.42 on friends, $3.76 on children’s classmates and teachers, and $2.73 on co-workers, according to the survey. Consumers will spend an additional $5.02 on other people like neighbors and babysitters.

Consumers aged 45-54 will spend $118.11 each this year, more than any other category and considerably higher than the $88.96 the group spent last year, according to the survey. Young adults 18-24, who were a main factor behind last year’s Valentine’s Day success, will be cutting back spending this year from $154.65 last year to just $83.50 this year.