FINANCE

Retailers in for a near-record Valentine’s Day

BY Marianne Wilson

U.S. consumers are going all in for February 14.

Consumers are expected to spend an average $143.56 on Valentine’s Day, an increase from last year’s $136.57, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year.

The numbers are the second-highest in the survey’s 15-year history, topped only by the record $146.84 and $19.7 billion seen in 2016. Valentine’s Day shoppers plan to spend $4.7 billion on jewelry (given by 19%), $3.7 billion on an evening out (35%), $2 billion on flowers (36%), $1.9 billion on clothing (17%), $1.5 billion on gift cards/gift certificates (15%) and $894 million on greeting cards (46%). More consumers plan on purchasing candy this year, with 55% (up from 50%) saying they will give gifts of candy for a total of $1.8 billion.

Much the same as last year, consumers plan to shop at department stores (35%), discount stores (32%), online (29%), specialty stores (19%), florists (17%), and local small businesses (14%).

More than a quarter (27%) of consumers who are not observing the holiday have an alternative in mind such as treating themselves in some way or getting together with family and friends.

This year’s survey found consumers plan to spend an average $88.98 on their significant other/spouse ($12.1 billion), $25.29 on other family members such as children or parents ($3.5 billion), $7.26 on children’s classmates/teachers ($991 million), $7.19 on friends ($982 million), $5.50 on pets ($751 million) and $4.79 on co-workers ($654 million). Those 25-34 will be the biggest spenders, at an average of $202.76.

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