Total consumer retail spending on Valentine’s Day is expected to dip this year as fewer people plan to celebrate the holiday, per an annual survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF). Although close to three-quarters (73%) of celebrants feel that celebrating is important this year given the state of the pandemic, the NRF expects consumer spending to drop to $21.8 billion.
This year’s spending estimate of $21.8 billion is considerably less than last year’s $27.4 billion. A little more than half (52%) of US adults plan to celebrate this year (compared with 55% last year), with celebrants expecting to spend an average of about $165, some $32 less per person than last year.
Although the largest portion of total Valentine’s Day spending will be spent on spouses or significant others ($11.7 billion), it’s not a day specifically reserved for them. Celebrants also plan on spending on gifts for other family members ($1.6 billion) and children’s classmates and teachers ($1.4 billion). And, much like with Halloween, where celebrants include their pets in the festivities, some $1.3 billion is expected to be spent on gifts for Fido and Mittens.
As in years past, the most popular gift purchases for respondents are candy (by 54% of celebrants, up from 52% last year), greeting cards (44%) and flowers (36%). While an evening out is still a popular gift for the holiday, only 24% plan to spend on this in 2021. Instead, 41% say they will plan a special dinner or celebration at home.
Valentine’s Day shoppers will primarily be shopping online this year, with 38% going the e-commerce route to purchase gifts. This is up from 32% last year. Shoppers also plan – to a lesser extent – to visit department stores (29%), discount stores (28%) and speciality stores (17%), while another 17% will shop locally or from small businesses.
About the Data: The NRF data is based on a survey of 7,882 adult consumers fielded in early January 2021.