Big hearts and bigger spending

Published 10:35 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Roses, chocolates, jewelry and more costly gestures are back for another Valentine’s Day this Wednesday. Americans love to lavish their significant somebodies with pricey treats, and this year is reported to yield nearly record-breaking spending in the name of love.

The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics released their annual Valentine’s Day consumers spending survey on Jan. 31, in which 7,277 consumers were asked about their plans this February.

Consumers across the country are expected to spend an average of $143.56 per person for one of America’s favorite date nights, an uptick compared to last year’s $136.57 average, according to the report.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

Total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, a head-turning increase over the $18.2 billion spent last year and the second-highest in the survey’s 15-year history. Only 2016 beats it, and just barely at $19.7 billion spent at an average of $146.84 per romantic.

“Americans are looking forward to pampering and indulging their loved ones with flowers, candy, dinner and all of the other Valentine’s Day stops,” NRF President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay stated in a press release. “With the holidays behind them and the winter months dragging along, consumers are looking for something to celebrate this time of year.”

The biggest spenders this year are around my age, with 25- to 34-year-olds averaging $202.76 each for a lovely evening with somebody special. Fellow adults hovering around 30 are also most likely to give “gifts of experience,” like tickets to concerts or sporting events.

I don’t know about concert tickets, but I do know that my girlfriend would prefer to spend her money on her wonderful dog, and she’s not alone in that sentiment.

According to NRF, pet spending is expected to jump 27 percent this year to $751 million. A New York Post article states that PetSmart, Amazon and numerous other retailers have jumped on the bandwagon with pet-themed merchandise.

“Millennials are the largest generation of pet owners,” Katherine Cullen, NRF’s director of retail and consumer insights, said to the New York Post. “And they are doting pet parents.”

Even single, non-pet people are expected to spend money to check their heart-shaped boxes.

According to the report, 27 percent of those surveyed who are not going out or buying couples gifts are planning to buy something nice for themselves instead or have plans to get together with friends and family.

“Valentine’s Day has become a holiday consumers take advantage of not only to spoil their loved ones but themselves,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist stated in the press release. “Shoppers should look out for deals on everything from candy to date-night dinner packages in the coming days, leaving plenty of options for those looking to make the occasion truly special.”

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, folks. Whether you spend the day with your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, or a four-legged friend, enjoy yourself.