V-Day Spending Tilts Back To Romance

In the latest sign that consumers' financial fears are fading, the National Retail Federation predicts a record $14.2 billion on significant others this Valentine’s Day. It forecasts total spending for the holiday, once you factor in other family members, galantines and classmates, to reach $25.8 billion, on par with 2023. That is the third-highest amount in the survey’s history.

Candy, as always, is the top gift, with 57% saying they’ll buy something sweet for someone. Greeting cards are next, at 40%, followed by flowers at 39%; jewelry at 22%; clothing at 21% and gift cards at 19%. The survey also finds a continuing interest in gifts of experience, such as a spa certificate or concert ticket, with about one-third of consumers saying they’re planning to give such a present.

If those predictions hold, spending is likely to hit new records for jewelry, at $6.4 billion; flowers, $2.6 billion; clothing, $3 billion; and an evening out, $4.9 billion.



Because the holiday falls on a Wednesday this year, restaurants are counting on a midweek boost.

The Washington D.C.-based trade association says consumers are more focused on the holiday’s romantic roots compared to last year when many were thinking about Valentine’s Day gifts for friends, coworkers, and pets.

The NRF’s forecast, conducted with Prosper Insights & Analytics, says it expects about 53% of American adults to celebrate. Participation is highest among those aged 25 to 34, with 62%.

But about 29% who say they aren’t officially celebrating will still mark the day in some way, either with a gift for themselves or an evening out with single friends or family.

And single or not, a new survey from the National Confectioners Association indicates that this year, consumers can’t go wrong with candy. Its annual survey finds that 94% of people in the U.S. say they would be excited to receive chocolate and candy for Valentine’s Day. 

“People see these treats as tokens of love and happiness, and gifting chocolate and candy is a sentimental tradition that brings a unique sweetness to this season,” says John Downs, president and chief executive officer of the trade group.

It may seem clichéd, but V-Day classics still rule, with 60% of survey respondents favoring chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, and 40% preferring conversation hearts.

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