Valentine’s Day Sales Up 3.2% in 2013

Consumers are expected to spend an average of $134.08 on Valentine’s Day this year, a slight increase from last year’s $133.99, according to Los Angeles-based industry research firm IBISWorld.

Despite consumer income and sentiment remaining below prerecession levels, IBISWorld forecasts total revenue for the holiday to grow 3.2 percent from 2012 figures. Spending on expensive gifts like romantic getaways, jewelry and dining out will rise, but more traditional items like candy and flowers will be the real winners in 2013.

“Although overall spending will increase slightly, consumers are still watching their wallets, and spending on expensive items will suffer as a consequence,” said Lauren Setar, IBISWorld industry analyst. “Due to these trends, Valentine’s Day purchases are expected to trend toward conventional gifts, giving candy and flowers an edge this year.”

Although jewelry sales jumped last year, this growth will falter in 2013 as consumers spend less on big-ticket items, following the government’s fiscal cliff negotiations that resulted in higher payroll taxes for nearly all Americans. As a result, jewelry is expected to underperform compared to overall Valentine’s Day spending.

Spending on flowers is expected to strengthen and contribute more to Valentine’s Day sales. Since the holiday falls on a Thursday this year, consumers are more likely to have flowers delivered to the workplace. Consumers are turning to online flower retailers, where they can browse and compare prices against brick-and-mortar flower shops.

Similarly, candy is expected to see higher revenue in 2013 as well. Candy is a small luxury that can be enjoyed without much financial guilt and can be delivered easily to offices. And children in schools are likely to give candy to their teachers and peers, helping support an overall increase in candy sales.

Other categories are not projected to do quite as well. Clothing and lingerie are expected to grow 1.8 percent in 2013, while greeting cards are anticipated to grow a mere 0.4 percent. Clothing and lingerie are far less popular than traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, and greeting cards continue to suffer as customers either switch to digital alternatives or to cheaper homemade cards.

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