Consumers Love Valentine’s Day
Spending expected to be up even as fewer people celebrate holiday

Feb. 3, 2019

People surveyed said they would spend an average of $161.96 for Valentine’s Day
File photo

WAUKESHA — Love has not been lost for those who celebrate Valentine’s Day with a record amount of money anticipated to be spent for the romantic day, according to the National Retail Federation. However, the number of people who celebrate the Feb. 14 holiday has declined.

“The vast majority of Valentine’s Day dollars are still spent on significant others, but there’s a big increase this year in consumers spreading the love to children, parents, friends and coworkers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

People surveyed by the NRF showed said they would spend an average of $161.96 for Valentine’s Day, which is a 13 percent increase from 2018’s amount of $143.56. It also is considerably more than the previous record of $146.84, which was set in 2016.

Total spending is expected to be $20.7 billion, which is an increase of 6 percent over last year’s $19.6 billion and breaks the previous record of $19.7 billion, also set in 2016.

“Those who are participating are spending more than ever and that could be the result of the strong economy. With employment and income growing, consumers appear to be expanding the scope of who qualifies for a card or a box of candy,” Shay said.

About 51 percent of Americans intend to celebrate Valentine’s Day, according to the NRF, which is down from 55 percent in 2018 and 63 percent in 2007. The NRF said it does not know why fewer consumers are celebrating the holiday in the past 12 years.

The lowest spending during the period was $102.50 in 2009 during the Great Recession.

Of the $18.40 increase in average spending, according to the NRF, only $4.26 comes from spending on spouses and significant others, which is expected to total $93.24. Consumers said they would spend $29.87 on other family members, up $4.58; $9.78 on friends, up $2.59; $8.63 on children’s classmates or teachers, up $1.37; $7.78 on co-workers, up $2.99; $6.94 on pets, up $1.44 and $5.72 on others, up $1.17.

Of the people who shop for Valentine’s Day, men are the biggest spenders with them expecting to spend about $229.54 in 2019, an increase of 20 percent compared to 2018. Women, on the other hand, plan to spend about $97.77, which is a 1 percent decrease from last year, according to the survey.

Among age groups, those 35-44 are the biggest Valentine spenders at $279.14, followed by those 25-34 at $239.07. Both groups typically have more people to buy for including children and children’s classmates or teachers.

The most popular items to buy for Valentine’s Day are: jewelry ($3.9 billion); an evening out ($3.5 billion); clothing ($2.1 billion), flowers ($1.9 billion) candy ($1.8 billion); gift cards ($1.3 billion); greeting cards ($933 million).

According to the survey, gifts of experience, such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa, are wanted by 40 percent and planned to be given by 25 percent.

“Valentine’s Day means different things for different people,” Prosper Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said in a statement. “Whether it’s a day of romance or one of making sure their children have enough cards in their backpacks for each of their classmates, it’s an important day for those who choose to participate.”

The survey of 7,384 adults 18 and older was conducted Jan. 2 to Jan. 9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.