Economy to Slow Valentine’s Day Spending

Washington, D.C. Consumers plan to spend an average $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise, down from $122.98 per person last year, according to The National Retail Federation’s 2009 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch. Total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion.

Most people still plan to buy the traditional favorites even though they plan to spend less. Over one-third (35.7%) of people will buy flowers, nearly the same as last year’s 35.9%, and 16.0% will buy jewelry, compared to 16.6% in 2008. More people plan to send greeting cards this year than they did last year (58.0% vs. 56.8% in 2008). Others will head to their favorite restaurant (47.0%), purchase clothing (10.2%) or a buy gift cards/gift certificates (11.0%).

“A bad economy won’t stop Cupid this Valentine’s Day, but it might slow him down,” said NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin. “This year more than ever, consumers will look for creative and inexpensive ways to show those they love how much they mean to them.”

The majority of people (90.8%) will spend the most on their spouse ($67.22), with other family members, such as children, getting about one-fifth of their budget ($20.95). Consumers will also spend on friends ($4.74), children’s classmates/teachers ($3.59), co-workers ($1.94) and pets ($2.17).

The report said that the 35-to-44 year old age group will spend the most this year. The average person plans to shell out $119.19. Young adults 18 to 24 will be the second-biggest spenders at an average of $113.68 per person, followed by 45 to 54 year olds ($108.82), 25 to 34 year olds ($105.59), and 55 to 64 year olds ($83.76).