Following a strong holiday season, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insight & Analytics have released a report predicting record Valentine’s Day spending of $27.4 billion in the U.S. this year, representing a rise of 32%.
The increase reflects a rise of 21% in spend per consumer, with Valentine’s Day shoppers saying that they plan to spend an average of $196.31 each, compared to $161.96 last year.
NRF attributes this “unusually large increase” in average spend to strong consumer finances, while the rise in total spending was also boosted by the percentage of consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day returning to 55%, following a decline to 51% last year.
Interestingly, while candy, flowers and cards remain the most popular gifts that consumers are planning on buying – mentioned by 52%, 43% and 37% of consumers, respectively – this year also saw a rise in the percentage of shoppers intending to buy clothing, jewelry and gift cards for their loved ones.
21% of those surveyed said they were going to purchase jewelry, with 20% opting for clothing and 19% for gift cards.
In terms of actual spending, these growing trends were even more pronounced. Total spending on gift cards is expected to rise from $1.3 billion last year to $2.0 billion in 2020, while the predicted increase for clothing is from $2.1 billion to $2.9 billion.
The most notable increase, however, is in jewelry, where total spending is expected to jump from $3.9 billion to $5.8 billion.
Other trends identified by the report include the fact that, while significant others still receive the largest share of Valentine’s Day spending, this share has fallen from 61% in 2010 to 55% in 2020.
The total share of spending on other family members has also fallen from 20% to 15% during this period, while the shares represented by presents for friends, children’s classmates and co-workers have all risen to 7%.
Gifts for pets are also expected to represent 6% of all Valentine’s Day spending this year, with a record 27% of consumers saying that they intended to treat their furry friends, up 17% from last year.
As usual, men are planning on spending more than women, with an average spend of $291.15, compared to $106.22.
As for consumers’ preferred Valentine’s Day shopping locations, department stores were the most popular option, mentioned by 36% of survey respondents, closely followed by discount stores and online retailers, tied at 32%.
Specialty stores (19%) and florists (17%) rounded out the top five Valentine’s Day retail destinations, with local small businesses bringing up the rear (15%). Clothing and jewelry stores were both mentioned by 11% of respondents.
NRF’s Valentine’s Day spending survey was conducted January 2 through 9 and included 7,267 adult consumers.