Valentine’s Day Spending to Near $18B

Consumers this year are set to spoil their friends, family and loved ones this Valentine’s Day in a very big way.

According to NRF’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight, the average person celebrating the holiday will shell out $126.03, up 8.5 percent over last year’s $116.21 and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.

“As one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication our economy continues to move in the right direction,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Anticipating high foot traffic in the coming weeks, retailers have replenished their inventories and will entice eager shoppers with great deals on everything from special menu items at restaurants to clothing to flowers and, of course, chocolates.”

Couples, Men to Spend the Most; Jewelry, Gift Cards Top Gift Ideas

Consumers’ “better halves” will shell out the most on their partners, with the average person planning to spend $74.12 on their spouse or significant other, up from $68.98 last year. Additionally, consumers will spend an average of $25.25 on their children, parents or other family members and $6.92 on friends. Valentine’s Day is a great day for pet owners to show their furry friends just how much they mean; the average person will spend about $4.52 on their pets.

The survey also found the average male is expected to spend $168.74 on clothing, jewelry, greeting cards and more this year – nearly twice as much as women, who are expected to spend an average of $85.76.

In addition to traditional gift ideas, those celebrating the holiday will also put some serious thought into the perfect gift. More than eight in 10 will buy jewelry, up from 17.3 percent last year and the highest percent in the survey’s history. Some will give the gift of choice: 13.3 percent will buy gift cards, up from 12.6 percent last year. Additionally, half of all celebrants will buy candy, 36 percent will buy flowers and 35.6 percent will treat someone to a nice evening out.

Total spending on jewelry is expected to reach $4.1 billion, up from $3.5 billion last year. Second to jewelry, those with a case of the love bug will spend more than $3.5 billion on a special evening out. Consumers will also spend $1.8 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy, $1.4 billion on clothing and $1.1 billion on gift cards.

“Celebrated by children who give Valentines to their teachers and classmates, family members who make sure to send greeting cards across the miles and couples who wish to show their appreciation for each other, Valentine’s Day means more than what’s simply on the surface,” said Pam Goodfellow, BIGinsight consumer insights director. “This year, we could very well see some consumers searching high and low and stopping at nothing to make sure their loved ones receive the perfect gift.”

Though discount stores are expected to see the most traffic (37 percent), one-third of shoppers will head to department stores, up from 30.5 percent last year. Online retailers will also see a nice boost from the business of love – nearly one out of five will shop online for gifts this Valentine’s Day, up from 18.1 percent last year. Others will shop at specialty stores (20.2 percent), floral shops (17.8 percent), jewelry stores (10.6 percent) and specialty clothing stores (6.6 percent).

More than Half of Tablet Owners to Use Device to Buy Valentine’s Day Gifts

After honing their mobile and tablet shopping skills this past holiday season, Valentine’s Day celebrants are looking to hit their smartphones and tablets once again to research and purchase gifts. According to the survey, more than half of all tablet owners will use their device to research products, compare prices, redeem coupons, look up retailer information or purchase products. Four in 10 smartphone owners will use their mobile device to do the same.

The NRF 2012 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted for NRF by BIGinsight, polled 9,317 consumers Jan. 4-11.

BIGinsight consumer intelligence provides analysis of behavior in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive and media.

The National Retail Federation represents retailers of all types and sizes in the United States and more than 45 countries abroad.

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