Love Is in the Air: Record Spending Expected for Valentine’s Day 2020

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WASHINGTON—Coming off a strong holiday season, Americans are expected to set another record for Valentine’s Day spending this year as they continue to widen the range of those they’re buying for, according to the annual survey recently released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Those celebrating the holiday said they plan to spend an average $196.31, up 21 percent over last year’s previous record of $161.96. Spending is expected to total $27.4 billion, up 32 percent from last year’s record $20.7 billion.

“Valentine’s Day is a sentimental tradition, but gift-giving can be driven by the economy,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers spent freely during the 2019 winter holidays and they appear ready to do the same in the new year. The same strong employment numbers and higher wages that boosted holiday sales should make it easier to spend a little extra to say ‘I love you’ this year and to spread the gift-giving beyond just your significant other.”

The unusually large increase in average spending appears to be due to strong consumer finances and a continued trend of consumers buying more gifts, cards, candy and flowers for friends, family, co-workers and pets. The increase in total spending comes as the number of people celebrating Valentine’s Day returned to 55 percent, about average for the past decade, after a dip to 51 percent last year.

The biggest share of Valentine’s spending still goes to spouses and significant others at 52 percent of the total, or an average $101.21 this year, up from $93.24 in 2019. But their share of the spending is down from 61 percent a decade ago. The share spent on most other recipients has gone up over the past decade, with the amount spent on co-workers, for example, more than doubling to 7 percent of the total from 3 percent. The share for pets has also doubled, to 6 percent from 3 percent in the same time period.
Consumers say they will spend an average $30.19 on family members other than spouses, up slightly from $29.87 last year; $14.69 on friends, up from $9.78; $14.45 on children’s classmates and teachers, up from $8.63; $12.96 on co-workers, up from $7.78; $12.21 on pets, up from $6.94, and $10.60 on others, up from $5.72.

Twenty-seven percent say they will buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets, the highest figure in the history of the survey and up from 17 percent in 2010 for a total $1.7 billion.

Click here to read the full story from the NRF.