Cost of Romance Forecast to Hold Steady

After healthy yet modest holiday shopping, consumers will keep an eye on the budget even when it comes to romance, a survey says.

Pets, teachers and colleagues join spouses and significant others on gift lists again this year, with spending on dining and jewelry expected to reach into the billions of dollars, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Valentine’s Day spending survey.

Men are the big spenders on Valentine’s Day. Men are projected to spend $108.38 on gifts for their significant others, twice as much as women, who will spend $49.41 on their special someone. But Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. People show their appreciation for family members (59%) friends (22%) teachers (20%) and colleagues (12%). And like every holiday, Americans won’t forget about their pets: 19% will buy gifts for their furry friends, spending an average of $5.51. 

The number of celebrants is forecast to tick down, with 54% of American consumers celebrating with their loved ones this year, compared with 60% in 2013. The average person plans to spend a bit more this year: $133.91 for candy, cards, gifts, dinner and more, just slightly above last year’s $130.97. Total spending is expected to reach $17.3 billion.

The main purchase is candy (49%), followed by flowers (37%). More than half those marking the holiday will send cards (51%). About one in five (19%) will treat their significant other to something sparkly. Jewelry spending will total $3.9 billion. More than a third (37%) will celebrate with an evening out, spending an estimated total of $3.5 billion. Others will give clothing (16%) or gift cards (14%).

About a quarter of Valentine’s Day shopping takes place online (26%), almost the same number as last year. Online shopping is in line with the trend of cautious spending: 24% will research products or compare prices on their smartphones and 32% on their tablets.