Grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, retail stores, and everything in between were covered with pink, red, hearts, chocolates, and flowers. February 14th marked another year of Valentine’s Day – a day meant to shower your loved ones with love and affection.
In the name of love, consumers around the country spent the days and weeks leading up to February 14th purchasing Valentine’s Day merchandise, taking their loved ones out to dinner, and buying tickets for physical experiences, like the movies, sporting events, and concerts. “Valentine’s Day will continue to be a popular gift-giving event, even when consumers are frugal with their budgets,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. “This is the one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care. Consumers can expect Cupid’s holiday to resemble the promotional holiday season we saw just a few months ago, as retailers recognize that their customers are still looking for the biggest bang for their buck.” Beyond brick-and-mortar storefronts, online retailers have been forming strategies on increasing consumer spending during the holiday season. While the majority of purchases still happening at traditional retail storefronts, love has taken over the digital landscape with a 37% increase in the number of online transactions, according to the annual Mastercard Valentine’s Day Index.
This year’s National Retail Federation annual survey found that consumers planned to spend on average $85.21 on their significant other, $26.59 on other family members, $6.56 on children’s classmates/ teachers, $6.51 on friends, $4.27 on co-workers, and $4.44 on their pets. This amount is actually down from the estimated $19.7 billion consumers spent last year, according to the NRF. The average consumer spent $146.84 in 2016, while individuals were expected to spend an average $136.57 this year.
The overall decline in Valentine’s Day spending is mainly due to the decrease in the number of consumers participating in the special day. The NRF says that 54% of consumers were anticipated to partake in cupid’s holiday, a 1% decrease from the year before. This is partly due to the increase in pricing of basic Valentine’s Day essentials, such as flowers. With traditional brick and mortar florists going out of business, online flower delivery is at an all-time high. The increase in online flower delivery drives competition which in turn raises the prices of flowers at traditional flower retailers.
The decrease in Valentine’s Day spending does not necessarily equate to a loss in romance. According to the SunTrust/ Harris poll survey, American’s value financial stability as opposed to looks or physical prowess by a margin of 20%. With that being said – that may be a good sign for lovers who are looking for a low-cost way to show their partner love and affection.