According to a new study from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, U.S. consumers are expected to spend a total of $21.8 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2021, a 20% year-over-year decline largely attributable to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year’s report found that 55% of consumers were planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day, spending a record $27.4 billion.
NRF’s 2021 study found that 52% of those surveyed intend to celebrate the holiday. On average, consumers expect to spend $164.76 on Valentine’s Day, a decrease of $32 compared to 2020’s average of $196.31.
Interestingly, 73% of those who said they would be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year said that they thought it was particularly important to do so because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Nonetheless, the pandemic has had a notable impact on spending plans.
Perhaps understandably, fewer than 24% of survey respondents intended to take their loved ones out for the evening, the lowest figure in the report’s history, while 41% said that they would be organising a special celebration at home.
“There is no question the pandemic has disrupted many aspects of Americans’ daily interactions and activities,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a release. “However, there remains a special significance around Valentine’s Day, and consumers are committed to celebrating friends and loved ones, even if that means having to alter those traditional holiday celebrations.”
Candy, greetings cards and flowers have maintained similar levels of popularity as Valentine’s gifts since last year, mentioned by 54%, 44% and 36% of shoppers, respectively. Clothing was again cited as an intended gift by 20% of respondents, while the popularity of jewelry slipped slightly, with the number of shoppers saying that they planned to purchase it falling from 21% in 2020 to 18% this year.
In line with the general trends seen since the start of the pandemic, e-commerce platforms were found to be the preferred destination for Valentine’s Day shoppers this year, 38% of whom said that they would go online to find their gifts. This knocks department stores – last year’s most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination – down into second place, having been mentioned by 29% of shoppers.
Cited by 28% of respondents, discount stores were also popular, while specialty stores and local or small businesses were both mentioned by 17% of shoppers.
NRF’s 2021 Valentine’s Day spending report is based on a survey of 7,882 adult consumers carried out in the U.S. between January 4 and 12. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.