Valentine’s Day Spending 2013: Shopping Trends

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Are Valentine's spending predictions a sign that shoppers are becoming more cautious? Image Credit: Vea Avernalis

Are Valentine’s spending predictions a sign that shoppers are becoming more cautious? Image by Vea Avernalis

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the retail frenzy is reaching its climax. Just how much is spent on Valentine’s Day, who buys the most, and how are spending habits changing?

Spending Predictions

The annual Valentine’s Day survey of consumer spending by the National Retail Federation predicts that a total of $18.6 billion dollars will be spent on Valentine’s Day gifts and cards in 2013. The average shopper will spend $130.97, which is a slight increase from last year’s average of $126.03.

What are People Buying?

More than half of shoppers buying Valentine’s Day gifts plan on giving a loved one candy, with an expected $1.6 billion being spent on confectioneries. Roughly the same amount will be spent on cards (a total of $1.5 billion). A third of gift-givers will buy flowers, spending a total of $1.9 billion, and the jewelry industry can expect a welcome boost due to the $4.4 billion that shoppers are predicted to spend on gold, silver, and diamonds. Also, 15.6% percent of consumers plan on giving clothes as presents, at an expense of $1.6 billion.

Valentine’s Day Spending Through the Recession

Although the increase in spending this year is only slightly more than in 2012, it is still a significant jump from the average Valentine’s day spending in the recession-hit years of 2009 and 2010, which saw average consumers parting with only $102.5 and $103, respectively, 22% less than retailers expect to see in 2013.

With average spending increasing by $10 or more per person since the dip of 2009-2010, the predictions for this years’ spending have slowed. As always, consumer spending can provide an insight into the economic and financial behavior of the country as a whole, and the amount splurged on romantic gifts is no exception. The slowing of increases in spending, despite rising prices, indicates that shoppers are becoming more cautious in response to tighter budgets and the general economic slowdown reported at the end of 2012.

The stores in which consumers choose to make their purchases can also be very telling. This year, discount stores will see the greatest numbers of Valentine shoppers, with 39.6% looking for a bargain for their loved one. Competitive online prices are expected to encourage 26.3% of shoppers to purchase gifts online.

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