Consumers spend on Valentine’s Day

Recession? What recession? To all appearances, consumers are going to take at least one day off from dealing with the sluggish economy and invest in making their loved ones feel loved. That’s what the National Retail Federation says, based on research provided by BigInsight. According to NRF, Valentine’s Day 2012 figures to be a record breaker.

According to NRF’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight, the total spend on the holiday is expected to come home at $17.6B.

One a person-by-person basis, celebrants are expecting to invest an average of $126.03, up from $116.21 a year ago and amounting to an increase of 8.5%. NRF says this is the highest total its ever recorded in ten years of conducting the survey.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay observed, “As one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication our economy continues to move in the right direction. Anticipating high foot traffic in the coming weeks, retailers have replenished their inventories and will entice eager shoppers with great deals on everything from special menu items at restaurants to clothing to flowers and, of course, chocolates.”

The chief beneficiary of the spending will be those filling the role of spouse or significant other – they will be on the receiving end of an average $74.12 outlay, up from $68.98 in 2011.

Children, parents and other family members are next on the shopping list, for an average benefit of $25.25. Friends and pets are also on the shopping list, for $6.92 and $4.52 respectively.

BigInsight date found that this is one holiday where men do most of the spending – when it comes to clothing, jewelry and cards, they are expected to invest $168.74 on average, almost double the $85.76 their significant others of the female persuasion are expected to spend.

There has been an increase in the number of people planning to buy jewelry, which is rising from 17.3% to 18.9%; and gift cards are in the plans of 13.3% compared to 12.6% in 2011.

Big categories on the day remain candy, in the plans for 50.5%; flowers, mentioned by 36.0%; and an evening out, cited by 35.6%.

Jewels can look for a total payday of $4.1B; restaurateurs are expected to rake in $3.5B; florists are looking at a haul of $1.8B; candymakers can expect about $1.5B and the total spend on gift cards is expected to hit $1.1B.

“Celebrated by children who give Valentines to their teachers and classmates, family members who make sure to send greeting cards across the miles and couples who wish to show their appreciation for each other, Valentine’s Day means more than what’s simply on the surface,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director at BIGinsight. “This year we could very well see some consumers searching high and low and stopping at nothing to make sure their loved ones receive the perfect gift.”

Describing the breakdown of shopping venues, NRF/BigInsight said, “Though discount stores are expected to see the most traffic (37.0%), one-third of shoppers (33.6%) will head to department stores, up from 30.5 percent last year. Online retailers will also see a nice boost from the business of love – nearly one out of five (19.3%) will shop online for gifts this Valentine’s Day, up from 18.1 percent last year. Others will shop at specialty stores (20.2%), floral shop (17.8%), jewelry stores (10.6%) and specialty clothing stores (6.6%).”


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