Average Valentine’s Day Spending Expected to Set New Peak

February 3, 2012

nrf-valentinesday-spend.jpgThe average US consumer celebrating Valentine’s Day this year will shell out $126.03 on traditional merchandise, up 8.5% from last year’s $116.21, and marking the highest average in the NRF Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey’s 10-year history, according to the February 2012 survey, conducted by BIGinsight.

Total spending for the day is expected to reach $17.6 billion, up 12% from $15.7 billion last year.

Majority of Tablet Owners to Use Device for Shopping

More than half of all tablet owners surveyed will use their device to either research products and compare prices (31.8%), redeem coupons (11.8%), look up retailer information (19.8%), or purchase products (19.3%). Among smartphone owners, 41.4% plan to research or make a purchase on their device.

Tablet owners may prove to be big spenders too: results from an Adobe Systems study released in January 2012 indicate that tablet visitors to the analyzed sample of more than 150 US retailers spent $123 on average per purchase in 2011, 54% more than smartphone visitors ($80), and 21% more than those who visited via traditional laptop and desktop computers ($102).

Consumers Share the Love Among Family and Friends

Meanwhile, the NRF survey forecasts that couples this year will spend an average of $74.12 on their spouse or significant other, up about 7.5% from $68.98 last year. In addition, consumers will spend an average of $25.25 on Valentine’s gifts for their children, parents, or other family members, up more than 11% from $22.68 last year, and $6.92 on friends (up 10% from $6.30).

Consumers will also spend an average of $5.81 (up 17% from $4.97) on classmates and teachers, and $3.73 (up 9% from $3.41) on co-workers.

Pets are not expected to feel the love quite like last year, though. In 2011, consumers planned to spend an average of $5.04 on their pets, while this year, they plan to spend $4.52.

Men, Youth Still Spend More

The average man plans to spend almost twice as much ($168.74, up 6% from $158.71) as the average woman ($85.76, up 13% from $75.79) this Valentine’s Day. Looking at age groups, adults 25-34 will spend an average of $176.85, more than twice the $79.67 adults 65 and older will spend, although the latter figure represents a 32% jump from $60.22 last year.

Jewelry Set to Shine

The survey found mixed results when looking at various categories. Consumers will shell out $4.1 billion on jewelry this Valentine’s Day, up 16.5% from an estimated $3.5 billion last year. Candy ($1.5 billion, 4% higher than $1.45 billion in 2011), flowers ($1.9 billion, up 10% from $1.7 billion in 2010), and an evening out ($3.6 billion, up 6% from $3.4 billion) will also be popular, although spending will be down on greeting cards ($0.97 billion vs. $1.09 billion), clothing ($1.45 billion vs. $1.62 billion) and gift cards ($1.17 billion vs. $1.51 billion).

While greeting cards will be the most popular gift option (52%, marginally down from 52.1%), candy (50.5%, up 6% from 47.5%), flowers (36%, up 5% from 34.3%), and jewelry (18.9%, up 9% from 17.3%) are expected to be big hits as well.

Dept Stores Close Gap With Discount Stores

Discount stores (37%, up from 36.6%) will be the most popular shopping destination, but department stores (33.6%, up from 30.5%) will challenge them for holiday traffic this year. Specialty stores (20.2%) and online (19.3%) will share much of the holiday traffic as well. Others will shop their local florist (17.8%) and jewelry store (10.6%).

About the Data: The NRF 2011 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted for NRF by BIGinsight, was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The poll of 9,317 consumers was conducted from January 4-11, 2012.

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