Valentine’s Day spending expected to reach $23.9 billion

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,049 views 

Consumers are expected to dole out $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day spending, up 9.63% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). It is expected to be the second-highest year on record for Valentine’s Day spending behind the $27.48 billion spent in 2020.

The trade group said 53% of consumers surveyed plan to celebrate the holiday this year. Average spending is expected to be $175.41 per person this year, up from $164.76 average spend a year ago.

“Following the historic level of consumer spending over the winter holidays, it appears that the trend will continue into 2022,” said NRF CEO Matt Shay. “Valentine’s Day is a special occasion for many Americans, even more so as we navigate out of the pandemic, and retailers are prepared to help them mark the holiday in a memorable and meaningful way.”

One of the biggest 2022 spends will be on jewelry as 22% said they will purchase it for a loved one or themselves. Total spending on jewelry is expected to top $6.2 billion, up 51% from a year ago. NRF said this will be a record year for jewelry buying if predictions come to fruition.

Valentine’s Day cards and candy remain the two most purchased items according to the survey with 56% satisfying a sweet tooth and 40% after the right sentiment in a card. Floral shops will see their fair share of business this year as 37% of the respondents are expected to spend $6.2 billion on flowers. Retailers are expected to rake in $2.2 billion on Valentine candy sales.

Even with the rise in Omicron cases, 31% of the respondents said they will have an “evening out” this year, up 24% from a year ago. Consumers are expected to spend a total of $4.3 billion on food and entertainment this year as they go out to celebrate the holiday. NRF said more consumers want to receive “gifts of experience” this year such as tickets for a concert or sporting event.

“While traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like candy and flowers seem to never go out of style, gift-givers and recipients alike are more comfortable heading out for a special meal or participating in a new experience than they were a year ago,” Prosper Insights executive Phil Rist said. “This is especially true among younger age groups.”

While consumers are expected to spend more than last year, economists say some of that increase is attributed to inflation.

“Inflation is generally making everything more expensive, so I’m not surprised that spending is expected to be higher than previous years,” said Matt Schulz, credit card analyst at Lending Tree.

Lending Tree’s research indicates those who are in a relationship will spend more than those who are not. The average couple will spend $208 on their significant other this year according to the Lending Tree survey. Lending Tree found 30% said they would not charge their Valentine’s Day gifts despite having done so in the past.

Analysts with WalletHub urge consumers to pay cash for their gifts, especially with rising interest rates on the horizon. The online financial services group also said it’s research shows irresponsible spending is a major reason couples break up. The WalletHub survey found consumers expect their partners to spend $50 on a gift, which is well below the three-figure estimates from Lending Tree and NRF.

Following are other estimates from WalletHub.
• $253: The average spend by men on Valentine’s Day
• 33%: The increase in U.S. online dating activity between Feb. 1 and Feb. 14
• 31%: Share of Americans who expect no Valentine’s Day gift in 2022