Report: Valentine Spending to Exceed $17B

As cupid prepares for his biggest day of the year, consumers are also planning special ways to celebrate with their loved ones. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the average consumer plans to spend $122.98 on Valentine’s Day, similar to last year’s $119.67. Total spending on Valentine’s Day is expected to reach $17.02 billion.

Traditional gifts, such as candy, flowers and jewelry will see a slight decrease in popularity this year with more consumers preferring gifts of experience and gift cards. Almost half (48.2%) of all consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special night out, compared to 45.3% last year, and 12.3% will give a gift card, compared to 11.3% last year.

Greeting cards still remain the most popular choice, though the number of people planning to purchase one is down from last year (56.8% vs. 62.8% last year). Nearly 48.0% of consumers will buy candy, 35.9% will buy flowers and 11.8% will buy clothing.

Men will again dish out the most this year, spending an average of $163.37 on gifts and cards, compared to an average of $84.72 spent by women.