“Valentine’s Day is a sentimental tradition, but gift-giving can be driven by the economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “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.”
Those celebrating the holiday said they plan to spend an average $196.31, up 21% over last year’s $161.96. Spending is expected to total $27.4 billion, up 32% from last year’s record $20.7 billion.
The big increase in average spending appears to be due to strong consumer finances and a continued trend of people buying more gifts, cards, candy and flowers for friends, family, co-workers and pets. The increase in total spending is also being boosted by the fact that more people said they will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year — 55%, about average for the past decade, after a dip to 51% last year.
The biggest share of Valentine’s spending still goes to spouses and significant others at 52% of the total, or an average $101.21 this year, up from $93.24 in 2019. But their share of the spending is down from 61% a decade ago. The share spent on most other recipients has gone up over the past decade, with the amount spent on co-workers, for example, more than doubling to 7% of the total from 3 percent. The share for pets has also doubled, to 6% from 3% in the same time period.
More information from the survey can be found here.