2011 Valentine's Day Spending to Increase, Average Person to Spend $116.21

What labor of love? This Valentine’s Day, couples are once again eager to shower their loved ones with special gifts.  According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the average person will shell out $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year, up 11% over 2010’s $103.00. Total holiday spending is expected to reach $15.7 billion. 

Having surpassed expectations during the holiday season, it seems consumers are not done spending on gifts, which bodes well for the economy,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Jewelry, candy and apparel sales should provide a nice boost for retailers during the typically slower months of January and February.”

Having cut back on spending in recent years, couples this year will spend an average of $68.98 on their significant other or spouse, up from $63.34 last year. Even family pets will be feeling more of the love this year. The average person will spend $5.04 on their furry friends, up from $3.27 last year. Consumers will also spend an average of $6.30 on friends, $4.97 on classmates and teachers, and $3.41 on co-workers.

While greeting cards will be the most popular gift option (52.1%), jewelry is expected to be a big hit as well with 17.3% planning on buying their loved ones something sparkly, up from 15.5% last year.

The survey also found spending across the board is expected to be up this year. Consumers will shell out $3.5 billion on jewelry this Valentine’s Day, up from an estimated $3.0 billion last year. Clothing ($1.6 billion vs. $1.5 billion in 2010) and dining out ($3.4 billion vs. $3.3 billion in 2010) will also be popular gift options. Additionally, celebrants will spend $1.7 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy and $1.1 billion on greeting cards.

As usual, men will spend the most on Valentine’s Day gifts. The average man plans to shell out more than twice as much ($158.71) as the average woman ($75.79) – perhaps suggesting men are ignoring the “it’s the thought that counts” sentiment this year.

Though the economy will still be on their minds, Valentine’s Day holds a special place in many Americans hearts,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “Some may opt for a quiet night out or a home cooked meal to keep costs down, but it seems there are others who are a little more interested in a nice night on the town."

Discount stores (36.6%) will be the most popular shopping destination, but department stores (30.5%), specialty stores (19.4%) and online (18.1%) will share much of the holiday traffic as well. Others will check out their local florist (16.8%) and jewelry store (9.5%).

With co-​workers, children and children’s classmates/​teachers to buy for, young couples/​parents will spend far more than their parents or grandparents on Valentine’s Day. Adults 25–34 will spend an average of $189.97, compared to the $60.22 adults 65+ will spend.

[Source:  2011 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.  National Retail Federation (NRF)/BIGresearch.  27 Jan. 2011.  Web.  27 Jan. 2011.]