Valentine’s Day spending projections in US top $25 billion for second straight year

A record amount of consumer spending on jewelry, flowers and an evening out is expected in the US for Valentine’s Day this year.

Spending on significant others is forecast to reach a record-high of $14.2 billion, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

If achieved, that level would be an increase of 5.2% from $13.5 billion last year.

The last time spending on significant others was above the $14 billion mark was in 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, the NRF data showed.

“While shoppers may be spending the most on jewelry, overall, the most popular gifts are the classics – candy and greeting cards,” Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy at Prosper Insights & Analytics, said in a statement.

This year, top gifts include candy at 57%, greeting cards at 40% and flowers 39%, followed by an evening out at 32%, jewelry with 22%, clothing 21% and gift cards at 19%, according to the Jan. 2-8 survey with over 8,300 adult consumers.

While 40% of consumers are expected to do their shopping online, 33% will head to department stores and 31% will choose discount stores, according to the estimates.

Those are to be followed by florists at 17% and jewelry stores at 13%, the survey showed.

Consumers plan to spend $25.8 billion total

“With consumers prioritizing their spouse or significant other this year, retailers expect to see a shift in spending for certain gifting categories,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

New spending records are expected for jewelry with $6.4 billion, flowers at $2.6 billion, an evening out with $4.9 billion, and clothing $3 billion, the survey showed.

In the US, 53% of consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, slightly up from 52% last year, according to the NRF.

Overall, consumers plan to spend a total of $25.8 billion in the US, slightly lower than last year’s $25.9 billion.

If realized, this year’s figure would be the third-highest amount, after 2023 and the year of 2020, when it stood at $27.4 billion.

Consumers expect to spend $185.81 on average, $8 more than the average Valentine’s Day spending over the last five years, while 62% of consumers aged 25-34 plan to celebrate this year, more than any other age group, according to the NRF.

That age group has the second-highest expected spending with $126 per person, behind only the 35-44 age group that is forecast to spend $127 per person.

Among those not celebrating Valentine’s Day, 29% make plans to mark the occasion in some way, such as treating themselves to something special, or an evening out with their single friends or family members, said the NRF.

Rose sales skyrocketed

Red roses constitute the vast majority of flowers sold each year on Valentine’s Day.

While there are thousands of species and cultivars of this flower, the specific red rose represents love and romance. It has been a symbol of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and the ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite.

In honor of St. Valentine, a third-century Roman saint, the holiday was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 A.D. to be celebrated every Feb. 14.

Valentine’s Day started to be associated with a tradition of courtly and romantic love in 14th century medieval Europe among nobility.

Rose Day, celebrated on Feb. 7 every year, is a day dedicated to expressing love and affection for significant others through the gift of roses.

India-based instant delivery service Blinkit said it saw rose sales skyrocketing this year.

“Mad start to Valentine's week! It’s just 11am and we’ve already sold more roses than we did on Rose Day in 2023. And our analysts are telling me that there will be a bigger peak in the evening,” Blinkit CEO Albinder Dhindsa wrote on X on Feb. 7.

“Absolutely insane! We broke the record for highest ever chocolates sold in a day on blinkit on the 7th (Rose Day). And we’re already on track to breach that in the next couple of hours Chocolate is definitely a love language!” he wrote on Feb. 9.

India-based online food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy said last week its on-demand grocery deliveries firm under the name Instamart has stocked up on 1.5 million fresh roses.

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