Cash-Strapped: Lovers To Spend Less This Year

Valentine-Donut-BLooks like Cupid is keeping a closer eye on currency this year, with the National Retail Federation reporting that on average, people will spend about $81 on their spouses and sweeties this year, down from $82.90 last year. (As is generally true, men expect to spend much more, at $107.73, compared with the $53.34 women expect to spend on their main squeeze.)

But overall, spending on the Valentine’s Day holiday is expected to rise a bit to $18.6 billion, with those who celebrate (about 60% of U.S. adults) forking over a total of $130.97 on candy, cards, and gifts, compared with $126.03 last year.

For many marketers, the holiday is a major event. Chocolatier Lindt & Sprungli, for example, is using the occasion to launch new products, including an Excellence Wasabi and Excellence Strawberry bar. Even everyday brands are getting in the act. Krispy Kreme is selling heart-shaped donuts: Buy a dozen, and get 12 Valentine’s Day cards, each redeemable for a free donut. Zpizza is making heart-shaped pies. 

The NRF survey finds that 51% of those celebrating will give someone candy, spending about $1.6 billion. And 36.6% intend to give flowers, shelling out an estimated $1.9 billion. Jewlery is always big -- and this year, it will account for about 20% of gifts, costing $4.4 billion. And 15.6% say they plan to buy others clothes, while 15% will fall back on the always-reliable gift card option.

Increasingly, consumers are finding these gifts on the Internet, with 26.3% of the survey of 5,800 adults saying they will shop online, a big jump from 19.3% last year.

In addition to their love interests, 61% of those who are celebrating say they also intend to give gifts or cards to other members of the family, and will spend an average of $26.46 to do so. One-quarter also plan to buy gifts for friends, spending an average of $8.49, and 13.2% intend to buy something for co-workers, with an average price tag of $5.12. And 20% will buy something for a pet, spending a total of $815 million.

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