On Valentine’s Day, Love Means Big Business
News The perfect date certainly comes with a hefty price tag. In 2016, Americans will spend nearly $20 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts for their nearest and dearest.
Retailers are expecting record-breaking spending this Valentine’s Day, at $17.55 billion nationwide, which would be a new record for the lovers’ holiday.
February has historically been celebrated as a month of romance, and Valentine’s Day has roots both in Christianity and ancient Rome. The holiday is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia—and though modern day celebrations barely resemble its origins, the holiday is one considered sacred to many, accounting for a plethora of wedding anniversaries and proposals.
How did we get here?
It is estimated that Americans began exchanging valentines in the 1700s, and the first mass produced valentines in America were produced by Esther A.Howland, the “Mother of the Valentine,” in the 1840s, according to the History Channel.
"The average American will spend around $150 on Valentine’s Day in 2016—an increase from last year’s amount of $142.31."
Today, based on information from the Greeting Card Association, Valentine’s Day cards are the second most popular seasonal card after Christmas, with 145 million units sold per year (not including classroom valentines).
The holiday has grown to include a wide range of symbols and traditions, and according to data aggregated through surveys and reports by FatWallet, the average American will spend around $150 on Valentine’s Day in 2016 – an increase from last year’s amount of $142.31 – and the breakdown of those amounts is even more interesting.
Do men spend more?
Perhaps not too surprisingly, men will spend almost twice as much as women; 2014’s average was $190.53 to women’s $96.58. And although significant others are the majority of those who will receive gifts on Valentine’s Day (at 91 percent), gifts are received by other family members, friends, children’s classmates and teachers, co-workers, and, of course, pets. Actually, 21.2 percent of Americans will purchase special Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets – totaling $703 million.
But what are people buying?
According to the National Retail Federation, most money will be spent on candy, flowers, jewelry, greeting cards, an evening out, clothing and gift cards/certificates. The “evening out” estimate, at $4.5 billion, tops out the list by far, providing evidence that many couples find it worthwhile to invest in experience more than material goods (and that these activities are pricier than a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers, of course). Of course, many of these nights out may also include extras like candy and flowers.
Although about one-third of gifts are purchased online, tradition still reigns supreme for this holiday. Perhaps predictably, Valentine’s Day is the most popular day for fresh flower purchases in the U.S. – and 40 percent of Valentine’s Day flower purchases are classic red roses.