Valentine’s Day Spending Projections Split

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the reports are flooding in about just how much couples will dish out on the biggest retail holiday since Christmas.

And the results? Well, they’re split.

According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey (conducted by Prosper Insight and Analytics), sales surrounding the holiday will reach a record $19.7 billion this year. With 54.8 percent of consumers intending to partake, the average spend, predicts the NRF, will jump from $142.31 in 2015 to $146.84.

But according to a study conducted by American Express, 8 in 10 couples are planning on celebrating the day — but they plan on spending less. What that survey showed is that American consumers plan on spending 28 percent less, on average, than last year (down to $212 from $296).

Couples are also reportedly planning on spending less on dining out — $70 versus $103 in 2015. Gifts and dining out, of course, are the most popular ways to celebrate (and spend, with 51 percent vs. 53 percent reported in 2015 and 48 percent vs. 48 percent in 2015, respectively). The NRF study additionally showed that the sweets industry is poised to bring in $1.7 billion this Valentine’s Day

“With Americans focused on increasing their savings goals this year, they expect to spend less for Valentine’s Day,” said Jed Scala, Senior VP of Consumer Lending at American Express. “However, consumers still plan to show their love and affection through alternative yet equally sentimental ways.”

So how are those consumers who celebrate the holiday planning on doing so?

  • Surprising with unexpected gifts (42%)
  • Regular date nights (39%)
  • Romantic getaways (26%)
  • Unplugging from technology (23%)

In terms of buying engagement rings for the holiday, that number is also going down, according to the survey. Those expecting or planning a marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day have dropped from 12 percent in 2015 to 8 percent in 2016. This was attributed to couples shifting away from holiday-centric proposals.

The American Express survey also pointed toward how much couples are discussing finances, which showed that more couples have been discussing the matter pre-marriage. More than one-third of now-married couples (38 percent) said they began money talks when they were dating; 19 percent waited until they were married. Couples cited $291 as the average amount necessary to consult their significant on before making a purchase (compared to $318 in 2015).



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