NRF: Valentine’s Day total spending to hit $17.6 billion

Washington, D.C. -- Consumers are set to put out all the stops this Valentine’s Day, with the average person shelling out $126.03, up 8.5% over last year, according to NRF’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.

Consumers’ “better halves” will shell out the most on their partners, with the average person planning to spend $74.12 on their spouse or significant other, up from $68.98 last year. Additionally, consumers will spend and average of $25.25 on their children, parents or other family members and $6.92 on friends. And don’t forget pets: The average person will spend about $4.52 on their pets.

The survey also found the average male is expected to spend $168.74 on clothing, jewelry, greeting cards and more this year -- nearly twice as much as women who are expected to spend an average of $85.76.

In addition to traditional gift ideas, those celebrating the holiday will also put some serious thought into the perfect gift. More than eight in 10 (18.9%) will buy jewelry, the highest percent in the survey’s history. Total spending on jewelry is expected to reach $4.1 billion, up from $3.5 billion last year.
Additionally, 50.5% all celebrants will buy candy, 36% will buy flowers and 35.6% will treat someone to a nice evening out.

Though discount stores are expected to see the most traffic (37.0%), one-third of shoppers (33.6%) will head to department stores, up from 30.5 percent last year. Nearly 19.3% will shop online for gifts this Valentine’s Day. Others will shop at specialty stores (20.2%), floral shop (17.8%), jewelry stores (10.6%) and specialty clothing stores (6.6%).