A strong U.S. economy and lower taxes for many households are expected to boost spending this Valentine’s Day to an estimated $19.6 billion, up 7.69% from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation. The trade group said spending projections are just short of the 2016 record of $19.7 billion.
The average consumer will spend $143.56 on Valentine’s Day gifts and events, with 55% of the country’s adults planning to celebrate. A year ago, spending was $136.57 per consumer/household. Prosper Insights & Analytics said Millennials are the biggest spenders this year with consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 doling out an average of $202.76.
“Americans are looking forward to pampering and indulging their loved ones with flowers, candy, dinner and all of the other Valentine’s Day stops,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With the holidays behind them and the winter months dragging along, consumers are looking for something to celebrate this time of year.”
Shay said retailers of all sizes are poised to cash in as consumers plan to spread their Valentine budget around. About one in five said they will purchase jewelry boosting that category by $4.7 billion. Candy is also on more shopping lists this year with 55% of consumers saying they will give candy gifts for a total spend of $1.8 billion. Flowers are also a popular Valentine Day gift with 35% of consumers planning to spend $2 billion on floral bouquets. Apparel is another category that could use a lift and this year, and 17% of consumers plan to buy clothing at an estimated sector spend of $1.9 billion.
Gift cards will be purchased by 15% of consumers for a combined spend of $1.5 billion. Greeting cards will rake in $894 million with 46% of consumers buying them.
About one-third of consumers are also planning to spend the evening out this year which typically involves dinner and some form of entertainment. The total estimated spend of $3.7 billion is down from $3.8 billion last year when 37% of consumers gave experience gifts.
“Gifts of experience” such as tickets to a concert or sporting event continue to be popular, sought by 42% of consumers, but only 24% plan to give one. Millennials (41%) are the most likely to give gifts of experience.
Friends are also being remembered more this year with consumers planning to spend a combined $982 million, an average of $7.19, up from $6.51 a year ago. Families will spend an average of $7.26 on their children’s classmates and teachers this year totaling $991 million. A year ago classmates and teachers had an average spend of $6.51, according to the survey.
Pets are also more popular this year with consumers planning to spend an average of $5.50 on their pet for a total boost to the category of $751 million. A year ago, consumers said they spent an average $4.44 on their family pet at Valentine’s Day.
Co-workers were the other demographic consumers said they will remember this Valentine’s Day with a gift for a total spend of $654 million or $4.79 on average, compared to an average of $4.27 last year.
Bankrate notes consumers will likely spend more than they think on Valentine’s Day given inflationary peak prices for roses cost more on this holiday than other times of the year. One dozen premium long-stem red roses list for $105 this year, with another $25 for delivery, on BloomNation. A year ago the cost was $94.29.
Fine dining for two cost an average of $96 last year, according to Bankrate. This year the cost is expected to be more than $100 given inflationary prices for food and labor as predicted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. NPD said more restaurants are taking price increases to help offset higher labor costs as minimum wages rose again this year in several states.
The NRF reports Valentine’s Day ranks behind the Christmas holiday, Mother’s Day and Easter in terms of spending.