US consumers planning to spend big bucks on V-Day shopping

RetailME Bureau

It’s time to spread love, and Americans are gearing up to surprise their loved ones this Valentine’s Day with special gifts.

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, this year Valentine’s Day total spending is expected to reach a whopping $19.7 billion.

The survey found that 54.8% of US consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day, spending an average of $146.84 on flowers, jewellery, candy, apparel and more. This figure is up from $142.31 last year.

“As the first major consumer holiday of 2016, Valentine’s Day could provide a positive boost in spending that our economy needs,” observes NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Low gas prices and guaranteed promotions from retailers, large and small, should help consumers as they look for the perfect gift for their friends and family. Looking ahead, we’re optimistic consumers are in a good place when it comes to spending on discretionary items like gifts.”

Consumers surveyed indicated some of the top gifts ideas for this Valentine’s Day, with 50% planning to buy candy, spending a total of $1.7 billion. Nearly four in 10 of those celebrating the holiday (38.3%) plan to treat their dates to a night out at a restaurant, tickets to a show or another experience, spending a record total of $4.5 billion, the highest since NRF began tracking spending on gifts in 2010.

Another $4.4 billion will be spent on necklaces, earrings and other jewellery items, with nearly one in five (19.9%) planning to treat their significant other or family member to something precious. Nearly half (47.9%) of those celebrating will spend $1.1 billion on greeting cards. Further, almost $2 billion is estimated to be spent on apparel and $1.9 billion on flowers.

“With the winter holidays behind us, consumers may have a little more room in their budget to indulge on gifts for their loved ones,” says Prosper’s principal analyst Pam Goodfellow. “This year we expect consumers will look for unique and creative gifts, including that extra special ‘experience’ that can be shared any time throughout the year. Even those on a tight budget can find affordable ways to create a special moment with each other even past Valentine’s Day.”

This Valentine’s Day department stores will see maximum traffic (34.5%). Almost one-third of the survey respondents (31%) will shop at their favourite discount store. Around 27.9% plan to shop online, 19.4% will visit a florist, 19.1% will visit a specialty store and 15.4% will shop small at a local, small business.

Further NRF for the first time asked consumers about their hope to receive and plans to give a gift of experience. According to the survey, 24% said they plan to give a gift of experience such as tickets to a concert, a spa service or an art lesson, while nearly four in 10 (38.8%) said that they would love to receive a gift of experience.