Retail

Valentine’s Day, Pizza Rings And All The Ways (To Pay) To Say ‘I Love You'

Valentine's Day

In less than a week, “national engagement season” will be over. And for those saying something to the effect of “there is no such thing as national engagement season,” we would point out the data begs to differ. The roughly 80 days between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day (plus or minus a couple of days depending on when Thanksgiving falls in a given year) is when some 40 percent of engagements happen each year.

And as you may suspect, not all the days in that span are quite equal — the vast majority of those engagements are carried by five days in the year, the five top days for proposals nationally. They are, in order: Christmas Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day. Dec. 23 is the sixth biggest day of the year for engagements for the early birds out there, while the seventh spot is held by whatever date falls two Saturdays before Christmas Eve in any given year. That is also one of the biggest shopping days of the season, and we strongly suspect a lot of rings bought on that day were originally intended to be Dec. 24 or 25 rings — but some people just don’t have that kind of patience.

To get outside of engagement season one has to go all the way down to the No. 8 spot on the list — the 4th of July.

And as the season of bold, jewelry-backed expressions of love is coming to an end, consumers are gearing up for once last spending push to seal off the season.

All in, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans will drop about $27.4 billion in celebrating Valentine’s Day 2020, or an average of $196.31 per person, up 21 percent.

So everyone clearly isn’t getting an engagement ring this year.

But an awful lot of people will be getting jewelry, as shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on all kinds of bling. The rest of the spend will go mainly toward evenings out, clothes, candy, flowers, gift cards and greeting cards.

As for who will be doing the spending, that is largely men and bridge millennials. On average men outspend women on Valentine’s Day pretty staggeringly — shelling out an average $248.90 to women’s average of about $57. The data also indicates there are an awful lot of mismatched expectations this holiday since men on average expect their partner will spend $189, while women expect expenditures of around $63.

So ladies reading this, maybe consider stepping it up a bit this year, lest you suffer through a very awkward gift exchange over a candlelit dinner.

And, in one of 2020’s more interesting trends, it will apparently be a good year for pets this Valentine’s Day, as a major upswell in consumers purchasing presents for their dogs and cats has been reported. In total $1.7 billion will be spent celebrating puppy love in the most literal way possible — a 17 percent increase to $12.21 on average per person, up from $6.94 in 2019.

So why the big upswing in Valentine’s Day spending? According to the NRF, consumers are feeling the love for the economy, and it is translating into showering more gifts on their spouses, partners, kids and canine companions.

“Consumers spent freely during the 2019 winter holidays and they appear ready to do the same in the new year. The same strong employment numbers and higher wages that boosted holiday sales should make it easier to spend a little extra to say ‘I love you’ this year and to spread the gift-giving beyond just your significant other,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.

A free-spending and love-enthused consumer segment is probably all to the good for the U.S. economy, as such things usually spell good things for growth. But in a year where everyone is feeling good and raising the level of their game, an obvious problem emerges: how to keep up with the other consumers? Kanye West has already thrown the gauntlet down, as his pre-Valentine’s gift to Kim Kardashian was a custom engraved antique Cartier necklace that at the low end costs $30,000. And if you find yourself wondering what a pre-Valentine’s day gift is, we’re not really sure either. We are, however, reasonably confident that it is something we will as a nation be buying two week before Valentine’s Day in 2021 and that we will likely have a headline this time next year about it that contains the words “Kardashians Kash In On Valentine’s Day.”

We digress. Even if there is a custom Instagram shop for all your pre-Valentine’s and Valentine’s Day needs next year, it is probably time to accept that none of us are going to outdraw what Kanye is doing. A man who retains a 50-piece orchestra for his proposal or casually buys a $1.4 million choker is going further over the top than any of us are.

But while going bigger than Kanye West is almost certainly not an option for anyone not currently building their own space program, there is always the possibility of going weirder. And luckily in this first year of a new decade the world of commerce has come through for all of those who are looking to give a Valentine’s gift — or offer up a proposal — that we can almost promise will be a conversation starter for pretty much the rest of their natural life.

There is the Pizza Engagement Ring.

Care of Domino’s Australia, 2020 will be the year pizza and love are finally united in more than concept alone via a diamond-encrusted engagement ring. On its Twitter page, Domino’s Australia promised one “lucky pizza lover” will be awarded the ring for producing the best 30-second video explaining why their love is so boundless, so pure and so delicious that the only possible way to mark its transition to the eternal would be with a bejeweled ring with a slice of pizza on it.

According to the chain, the ring is worth more than $9,000.

“Think you’ve found your slice of heaven and are ready to say, ‘I cheese you’?” writes Domino’s of the contest. “We’re giving one lucky pizza lover the chance to make a truly dough-mantic proposal this Valentine’s Day.”

We can only hope the contest winner’s beloved actually says yes. For truly, the only thing more heartbreaking than an unclaimed slice of pizza is an unclaimed slice of pizza made of gold and diamonds.

But then, who could say no to someone with a pizza engagement ring, right?

On second thought, maybe just stick with the standards. Chocolate. Flowers. Diamonds (not in pizza form).

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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NEW PYMNTS STUDY: ACCELERATING THE REAL-TIME PAYMENTS DEMAND CURVE – NOVEMBER 2020

About: Accelerating The Real-Time Payments Demand Curve:What Banks Need To Know About What Consumers Want And Need, PYMNTS  examines consumers’ understanding of real-time payments and the methods they use for different types of payments. The report explores consumers’ interest in real-time payments and their willingness to switch to financial institutions that offer such capabilities.

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