Looks like Americans are in the mood for love. A new spending survey from the National Retail Federation reports that Americans who celebrate Valentine's Day are planning to spend $116.21, an 11% jump from last year's $103. And the Washington, D.C.-based trade group says it anticipates total spending for the Feb. 14 holiday to reach $15.7 billion.
The increase, however, isn't just from spending on one's sweetie, although that accounts for $68.98 (up from $63.34 last year.) This year, consumers really seem to want to spread the love around, even treating their pets better. Some 18% of the survey will put on the dog, with spending on Fido (or Fluffy, we imagine) expected to be $5.04, up from $3.27 last year. And shoppers are expected to spend an average of $6.30 on friends, $4.97 on classmates and teachers, and $3.41 on coworkers.
Cards continue to be the main way that people express themselves (and 52.1% will buy one), but bling is back, too, with 17.3% planning a jewelry purchase, up from 15.5%.
The holiday is expected to generate $3.5 billion in jewelry sales, $3.4 billion on dining out, $1.7 billion on flowers, $1.6 billion on clothing, $1.5 billion on candy, and $1.1 billion on greeting cards. And men are likely to outspend women, at $158.71 to $75.79.
The survey -- conducted by BIGResearch and based on about 8,900 responses -- also found that those in the 25-34 age range will be the biggest spenders, at an average of $189.97.
Marketers are making sure there are plenty of intriguing offers to pounce on. Candy maker Just Born, for example, has rolled out Peeps Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Marshmallow Hearts, a Mike and Ike product called Passion Mix, and a new Hot Tamales Untamed Love Mix. Zales is already advertising a Valentine's Day sale with 60% off.
White Castle, of course, is continuing its ever-popular candlelit dinner option (reserve early -- tables go fast!) And since February is also American Heart Month (National Wear Red Day is Feb. 4), some are also pushing spending for the greater good: Macy's, for instance, has unveiled a line of Go Red fashion items to raise money for heart-related health causes.