My Friend, My Valentine: V-Day Spending Goes Beyond Sweethearts

It's not just sweethearts this year: The National Retail Federation is projecting outsized spending gains as consumers look to shower all the people in their lives with some Valentine's Day love.

The NRF predicts spending will rise to nearly $26 billion, up from $23.9 billion in 2022. That's a near record, with per person-spending set to advance $192.80, up from $175.41 last year.

Spending on significant others and family is flat, with gifts for all the other people we know fueling the increase. The Washington D.C.-based trade association says that of the $17 growth, $14 will go to recognizing pets, friends, co-workers, classmates and teachers.

People between the ages of 35 to 44 say they'll spend the most, at about $336, almost $143 more than the overall sample. The research was conducted with Prosper Insights & Analytics, based on responses from 7,600 people.



By channel, consumers plan to shop online (35%), in department stores (34%), at discount stores (31%) or in specialty retail locations (18%). 

And while 52% say they intend to celebrate, 28% of those who aren't celebrating still intend to mark the day somehow, whether it's getting together with single friends or family members or treating themselves.

At 57%, candy is the most popular gift, followed by cards (40%), flowers (37%), a night out (32%) and jewelry (21%.)

Some marketers are already offering combinations of those favorites. Godiva has created a Valentine's Day Collection, in a variety of opulent heart-shaped packaging, in partnership with Le Vian jewelry, offering shoppers the chance to win its branded Chocolate Diamonds.

Looking for something along the lines of romantic comfort food? Barilla pasta is introducing Barilla Love, a heart-shaped pasta cut.

The limited-edition offer comes in a Barilla Love Pasta Kit, with a box of pasta, Valentine's Day cards, and recipes. And it, too, features a contest, flying the lucky winning couple to Italy, where they get world-class meals and "authentic pasta experiences" in Florence and Parma.

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