Consumers are buying Valentine’s Day gifts for a wider range of people than ever before — and that translates into very good news for retailers.
That’s according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, which found that those celebrating the holiday plan to spend an average $196.31, up 21% over last year’s previous record of $161.96. Spending is expected to total $27.4 billion, up 32% from last.
The unusually large increase in average spending appears to be due to strong consumer finances and a continued trend of consumers buying gifts for friends, family, co-workers and even pets. The increase in total spending comes as the number of people celebrating Valentine’s Day returned to 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. Meanwhile, 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%. The share for pets has also doubled, to 6%.
Department stores are the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, visited by 36%, with discount stores and online tied at 32%, specialty stores at 19%, florists at 17%, local small business at 15% and clothing stores and jewelry shops tied at 11%.
Shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry (given by 21%), $4.3 billion on an evening out (34%), $2.9 billion on clothing (20%), $2.4 billion on candy (52%), $2.3 billion on flowers (37%), $2 billion on gift cards (19%) and $1.3 billion on greeting cards (43%). Gifts of experience such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa are wanted are planned by 28%.
Other survey findings are below.
• Consumers say they will spend an average $30.19 on family members other than spouses, up slightly from $29.87 last year; $14.69 on friends, up from $9.78; $14.45 on children’s classmates and teachers, up from $8.63; $12.96 on co-workers, up from $7.78; $12.21 on pets, up from $6.94, and $10.60 on others, up from $5.72.
• Twenty-seven percent say they will buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets, the highest figure in the history of the survey and up from 17 percent in 2010 for a total $1.7 billion.
• The youngest Valentine’s shoppers surveyed – those ages 18-24 – plan to spend an average $109.31. But those 25-34 – old enough to have higher incomes and children to buy for – expect to spend $307.51 and are topped out by those 35-44 as the biggest spenders at $358.78. As in each year of the survey, men plan to spend more than women at $291.15 compared with $106.22.