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Greeting Cards and Candy at Heart of V-Day Sales, Again: Survey

WASHINGTON -- The average consumer plans to spend $122.98 on Valentine's Day, a slight uptick from last year’s $119.67, according to the National Retail Federation's 2008 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch. Total spending on Valentine's Day is expected to reach $17.02 billion.

While traditional gifts, such as candy, flowers, and jewelry will continue to dominate, they will also see a slight decrease in popularity this year, with more consumers preferring gifts of experience and gift cards, the survey found. Almost half (48.2 percent) of all consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special night out, compared to 45.3 percent last year, while 12.3 percent will give a gift card, compared to 11.3 percent last year.

Greeting cards still remain the most popular choice, though the number of people planning to purchase one is down from last year (56.8 percent vs. 62.8 percent). Nearly 48 percent of consumers will buy candy, 35.9 will buy flowers, and 11.8 percent will buy clothing.

In potential demonstrations, of real puppy love, 17.2 percent of celebrators say they plan to give gifts to their pets this Valentine’s Day. Spending on pets for the holiday is estimated to reach $367 million.

Not surprisingly, men will again dish out the most this year, spending an average of $163.37 on gifts and cards, compared to an average of $84.72 spent by women.

Adults aged 25-34 plan on spending the most this year, with the average person planning to shell out $160.37. Young adults will be the second biggest spenders, with the average 18-24 year old expected to spend $145.59, followed by 45-54 year olds ($117.91), 35-44 year olds ($116.35), and 55-64 year olds ($110.97).

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