Cupid Confronts Economy: Valentine’s Day Spending to Decrease

February 3, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | CPG & FMCG | Financial Services | Retail & E-Commerce | Youth & Gen X

Consumers plan to spend an average $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise this year, down from 2008’s $122.98 per person, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, Retailer Daily reports.


Total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion.*

Most people will still buy traditional favorites, even though they plan to spend less. Over one-third (35.7%) of people will buy flowers, nearly the same as last year’s 35.9%, and 16.0% will buy jewelry, compared with 16.6% in 2008.


In addition, more people this year will send greeting cards than they did last year (58.0% vs. 56.8%). Others will head to their favorite restaurant (47.0%), purchase clothing (10.2%) or a gift card/gift certificate (11.0%).

“A bad economy won’t stop Cupid this Valentine’s Day, but it might slow him down,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “This year more than ever, consumers will look for creative and inexpensive ways to show those they love how much they mean to them.”

The vast majority of people (90.8%) will spend the most on their spouse ($67.22), with other family members such as children getting about one-fifth of their budget ($20.95).


Consumers will also spend on friends ($4.74), children’s classmates/teachers ($3.59), co-workers ($1.94) and pets ($2.17).

“While some Americans will forego a gift and opt for quality time at home instead, others will simply set budgets and fixed amounts when exchanging presents,” said Phil Rist, EVP, Strategic Initiatives at BIGresearch. “Valentine’s Day this year will be more about small tokens of affection rather than extravagant purchases.”

The 35-44 year old age group will spend the most this year, on average planning to shell out $119.19. Young adults 18-24 will be the second-biggest spenders at an average of $113.68 per person, followed by 45-54 year olds ($108.82), 25-34 year olds ($105.59), and 55-64 year olds ($83.76).

* Total spend is an extrapolation based on the number of US adults age 18+.

About the survey: The NRF 2009 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The poll of 8,850 consumers was conducted January 1-8, 2009.

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