Valentine’s Day spending expected to hit nearly $26B

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Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Many U.S. consumers have plans to use the holiday – and their wallets – to show how much their loved ones mean to them.

In a recent survey, the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics found 53% of American consumers intend to take part in Valentine’s Day festivities. 

Of those celebrating the holiday, which falls mid-week this year, 86% said they will use their money on gifts for significant others or spouses, according to the survey.

That is expected to bring retailers $14.2 billion in Valentine’s Day spending just focused on lovers, the NRF estimated. Last year, significant other spending for the holiday was $13.5 billion.

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Smaller shares of consumers will open up their wallets to get Valentine’s gifts for people other than their significant other, like other family members, friends and their kids’ teachers, the survey showed. For example, just 56% are buying for other family members.

The amount consumers will collectively spend is estimated to total $25.8 billion, the NRF said.

The NRF noted the internet “continues to be the most popular destination to shop for Valentine’s Day gifts at 40%.” That doesn’t, however, preclude places like department stores, discount stores and other businesses from some Valentine’s Day shoppers’ plans.

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Matthew Shay, NRF president and chief executive, said retailers “expect to see a shift in spending in certain gifting categories” in light of consumers “prioritizing their spouse or significant other this year.”

Spending on jewelry, flowers, clothing and evenings out is expected to total a combined $16.9 billion. Those categories are slated to each notch “new spending records,” the NRF said.

Some restaurants roll out discounts or deals specifically for the holiday to attract couples, as well as those not celebrating the holiday with a significant other.

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On the whole, what consumers will buy for Valentine’s Day gifts will vary, with the largest proportion – 57% – saying they’ll pick up candy. The NRF also identified greeting cards at 40% and flowers at 39% as categories expected to be a common selection.

Retailers also see major spending from U.S. consumers ahead of kids going back to school, winter holidays and other events.

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