‘US consumer spending on gifts is expected to increase 32% this Valentine’s Day, with jewelry topping the list at nearly $6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Consumers intend to lay out $27.4 billion on their loved ones over the holiday, beating last year’s record $20.7 billion. The growth comes as the number of people celebrating the holiday this year returns to 55%, about average for the decade, following a dip to 51% last year. Consumers are also buying for a wider range of people, including coworkers, friends and pets.
“Valentine’s Day is a sentimental tradition, but gift-giving can be driven by the economy,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said last week. “Consumers spent freely during the 2019 winter holidays and they appear ready to do the same in the new year. The same strong employment numbers and higher wages that boosted holiday sales should make it easier to spend a little extra to say ‘I love you’ this year and to spread the gift-giving beyond just your significant other.”
Some 21% of those surveyed will be buying jewelry, with the total outlay for that category coming to $5.8 million. Other favorites included an evening out at $4.3 billion, clothing at $2.9 billion, $2.4 billion on candy, and $2.3 billion on flowers.
Out of those planning to spend, the average consumer will shell out $196, a 21% increase over last year’s figure. Of that amount, spending on significant others will comprise 52%. Some 27% of consumers will buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets, the highest figure in the history of the survey, totaling $1.7 billion.
Gift cards are also a popular choice, as are greeting cards and “gifts of experience,” such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa.
The survey found that 36% of all shoppers intended to make their purchases at department stores, while 32% chose discount stores and online shopping, 19% chose specialty stores, and 11% picked clothing stores and jewelry shops. ‘