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Front Page » February 9, 2006 » Holiday Focus » The Cost of Love
Published 3,529 days ago

The Cost of Love

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Sun Advocate general manager

Jewelry is expected to be a popular Valentine's Day gift this year.

Before next Tuesday, couples in the United States will spend near $13.7 billion on Valentine's Day gifts. The average consumer will spend around $100.

Men spend slightly more, averaging $135.67, while women are expected to spend half that, averaging $68.64. Those figures come from a survey released last week by the National Retail Federation.

Finding the right gift is difficult for many. But traditional gifts are popular as ever.

"When it comes to shopping for their special someone on Valentine's Day, consumers turn to more sentimental gifts," said NRF president Tracy Mullin. "Retailers know that traditional Valentine's gifts, including candy, cards, jewelry and flowers will remain holiday favorites and they stock their shelves accordingly."

This year, more men are expected to buy jewelry than last year. That increase in sales will likely result in lower sales in flowers.

The survey showed that 62 percent of consumers plan to purchase a greeting card. Almost half will buy candy, with almost the same amount spending money on an evening out.

Roughly a third are expected to buy flowers for their significant other. Gift certificates are not as popular for Valentine's Day as they are on other holidays. Only 10 percent of consumers are expected to purchase gift cards or gift certificates. That is likely due to the fact that many people try to find a more sentimental gift and feel that a gift certificate won't show the same affection as other gifts.

Always a popular favorite, nearly 50 percent of Valentine's Day consumers will buy candy. Approximately one third will buy flowers.

In addition to spending an average of $64.63 on a significant other or spouse, consumers are expected to spend $20.74 on other family members, $5.06 on friends, $3.52 on school classmates and teachers and $2.56 on co-workers. A final category which includes babysitters and neighbors is expected to cost consumers $4.38.

Spending is expected to decrease for a third year by young adults ages 18 to 24. This age group is likely to spend $48.89 this year, down from $83.50 in 2005 and $154.65 in 2004.

"These days young adults are coming up with creative, inexpensive ways to celebrate Valentine's Day with their special someone without breaking the bank," said Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy for BIGresearch, the research firm hired to conduct the survey. "Over the past few years we have seen the bulk of the Valentine's spending shift from young adults to middle-aged consumers."

Middle-aged consumers, however, are expected to spend $128.78 each, up from $118.11 last year and $88.96 in 2004.

The survey also showed some interesting facts about spending habits on Valentine's Day:

•Consumers purchased an estimated 180 million roses for Valentine's Day in 2005 with 74 percent of rose purchases for Valentine's Day being made by men, according to the Society of American Florists.

•Valentine's Day is the third most popular card-sending holiday behind Christmas and Father's Day, according to the National Retail Federation.

•More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day, according to the National Confectioner's Association.

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