Consumers Committed to Valentine’s Day Spending Regardless of Pandemic

According to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NFR) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 52% of adults in the U.S. plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, spending a total of $21.8 billion. Says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay: “There is no question the pandemic has disrupted many aspects of Americans’ daily interactions and activities…However, there remains a special significance around Valentine’s Day, and consumers are committed to celebrating friends and loved ones, even if that means having to alter those traditional holiday celebrations.” Interesting highlights from the survey (mostly directly quoted):

  • 73% celebrating this year feel it is important to do so given the current state of the pandemic; 74% indicating it will directly impact their plans for the holiday.
  • 24% of consumers plan to gift their loved one with an evening out, the lowest in the survey’s history; 41% will plan a special dinner or celebration in their own home.
  • Those celebrating plan to spend an average $164.76, down $32 on average per person, from a record $196.31 in 2020 right before the pandemic hit.
  • This year, online is the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, visited by 39 percent, followed by department stores (29%), discount stores (28%) and local small businesses and specialty stores tied (17%). This year is the first time consumers listed small businesses as a top five shopping destination since the question was added to the survey in 2015.

Consumer spending sentiment was also revealed in a recent study from RetailMeNot, where shoppers were surveyed to get insight into this year’s Valentine Day’s spending. Interesting highlights (mostly directly quoted):

  • Fewer people are buying gifts, but those who are, are spending more than double.
    • 1% of shoppers who are married or in a relationship are planning to buy a Valentine’s Day gift this year, compared to 69% last year.
    • Among shoppers purchasing gifts, the anticipated spend has nearly doubled since last year ($163 vs $85 in 2020).
  • With COVID restrictions, more Americans want tangible items over experiences. Only 42% are looking for a nice dinner at a restaurant, compared to 56% last year. The most wanted gifts this year include:
    • 44% prefer chocolate — compared to 32% last year; the planned spend on chocolate has nearly doubled ($46 vs $26 in 2020).
    • 34% are hoping for flowers – compared to 30% last year.
    • 33% are hoping for jewelry – compared to 29% last year.
    • 22% are hoping for new electronics – compared to 15% last year.

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