Hey Big Spender! Valentine Spending on the Rise

Posted by on February 5, 2012

Love may not cost a thing, but consumers this year are set to spoil their friends, family and loved ones this Valentine’s Day in a very big way. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight, the average person celebrating the holiday will shell out $126.03, up 8.5 percent over last year’s $116.21 and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.

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Ladies, get ready to open your gifts! And we’re not just talking candy. The survey found the average male is expected to spend $168.74 on clothing, jewelry, greeting cards and more this year – nearly twice as much as women who are expected to spend an average of $85.76.

Additionally, consumers will spend an average of $25.25 on their children, parents or other family members and $6.92 on friends. Valentine’s Day is a great day for pet owners to show their furry friends just how much they mean: the average person will spend about $4.52 on their pets.

Total spending on jewelry is expected to reach $4.1 billion, up from $3.5 billion last year. Second to jewelry, those with a case of the love bug will spend more than $3.5 billion on a special evening out. Consumers will also spend $1.8 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy, $1.4 billion on clothing and $1.1 billion on gift cards.

And just where are people shopping this year? Discount stores (37.0%) and department stores (33.6%) top the list, so be sure to plan your shopping trip early for the best selections. (Remember, Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday, so the weekend before – February 11 and 12 – will like be peak shopping times.) Others will shop at specialty stores (20.2%), floral shop (17.8%), jewelry stores (10.6%) and specialty clothing stores (6.6%).

Online retailers will see a slight boost this year, as 19.3% of gift givers will shop online. (Hint: Do it now to allow for shipping time!) And, after honing their mobile and tablet shopping skills this past holiday season, Valentine’s Day celebrants are looking to hit their smartphones and tablets once again to research and purchase gifts. According to the survey, more than half of all tablet owners (53.8%) will use their device to research products, compare prices, redeem coupons, look up retailer information or purchase products. Four in 10 (40.4%) smartphone owners will use their mobile device to do the same.