Valentine’s Day Spending To Hit Record High In 2016

Americans may have tapered down on retail spending during the last few months, but new research suggests they’re planning to reach a little deeper into their wallets this Valentine’s Day.

According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey, 55 percent of consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year and they will shell out an average of $146.84 on gifts such as flowers, candy and apparel. That number represents a 3.1 percent rise from the $142.31 they expected to spend last year.

“As the first major consumer holiday of 2016, Valentine’s Day could provide a positive boost in spending our economy needs,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a release. “Low gas prices and guaranteed promotions from retailers large and small should help consumers as they look for the perfect gift for their friends and family. Looking ahead, we’re optimistic consumers are in a good place when it comes to spending on discretionary items like gifts.”

Total spending this holiday is expected to reach $19.7 billion, a record for the NRF’s survey.

Market research firm IBISWorld Inc. released similar findings Tuesday, estimating that Valentine’s Day spending will jump 2.6 percent as consumers fork over $150.33 for the occasion.

The NRF’s survey indicates that traditional gift items still top the list — 50 percent of consumers surveyed said they plan to buy candy, spending $1.7 billion, while 38.3 percent indicated they plan to treat their dates to a night out at a restaurant, tickets to a show or other experience, spending a total of $4.5 billion (the highest since NRF began tracking spending on gifts in 2010).

About $4.4 billion, the NRF said, will be spent on necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items while 47.9 percent of those celebrating will spend $1.1 billion on greeting cards. Apparel gifting is estimated to cost consumers $2 billion and $1.9 billion will be spent on flowers.

IBISWorld also noted an uptick in experiential spending this year — spending on travel and romantic getaways is forecast to increase by 3 percent in 2016.

“Although a larger number of consumers will purchase traditional gifts like flowers and candy, rising incomes will entice consumers to splurge on romantic weekend getaways and concert and sporting event tickets,” IBISWorld noted. Proportionately higher Valentine’s Day spending from younger consumers is also expected to drive experiential gift sales this year.”

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