Whether it’s indulging in a box of chocolates, surprising a loved one with a bouquet of roses or showing up with a little bling, more than half of Americans are getting ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. And, unlike last year, when spending on the holiday took a pandemic-induced dip, shoppers are signaling that this Valentine’s Day could be one of the most splurge-worthy yet. According to the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics annual survey, consumers are planning to spend $175 on average on Valentine’s Day this year, roughly $10 more than they budgeted in 2021. And total spending on the holiday could reach $23.9 billion, the second highest in the survey’s history. NRF took a closer look at the data and identified three trends that are inspiring consumers to embrace Valentine’s Day this year.
Spending big to make it special
Throughout the long months of the pandemic, Americans embraced opportunities to celebrate special occasions – from Mother’s Day to Halloween and the winter holidays – in many cases spending at record levels. Even as COVID-19 appears to be entering a new phase, these holiday events are just as meaningful, if not more, than they were before.
Take a closer look at this year's spending data and insights for Valentine's Day compared to years past.
Seventy-six percent of those celebrating Valentine’s Day this year say that marking the holiday is important to them given the current state of the pandemic, up from 73 percent in 2021. And while Valentine’s Day is an occasion to celebrate many types of love, romantic relationships are the priority for many consumers this year. January data from Google Search shows that searches for “Valentine’s Day gifts for her” were up 300 percent over last year and searches for “best Valentine’s Day gifts for him” were up 200 percent over 2021. Shoppers plan to spend over $100 on average for gifts for partners and significant others, up from $88 in 2021 and on par with spending in 2020 before the pandemic.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
In addition to the hallmarks of candy, flowers or a greeting card, more shoppers are considering giving jewelry this Valentine’s Day than ever before. Total spending on jewelry could reach a high of $6.2 billion. While men are twice as likely as women to plan to give jewelry this year, women are also helping to drive this trend. Fourteen percent of women plan to give something with sparkle this year, more than ever before, and they’re expecting to spend twice as much as they did last year.
Going back to going out
Despite the ongoing impact of the omicron variant, consumers are feeling much more comfortable with activities like going out than they were a year ago. And that shows in their Valentine’s Day plans. Thirty-one percent are planning to mark the occasion with a special evening out, compared to just 24 percent —last year. Gifts of experience — like tickets to a favorite concert, getting pampered with a spa day or thrills like sky diving for the more adventurous — are also getting more attention this year. Unsurprisingly younger consumers are helping to drive both these trends.
But for those who don’t feel like going out, gifts of experience don’t have to involve leaving your house. Companies like Winc or Vinebox can recreate the experience of a curated wine tasting or services like Airbnb Experiences let you book virtual cooking or yoga classes all from the comfort of your own home.
While a lot of uncertainties remain for 2022, Valentine’s Day signals the consumers’ mindset in 2022 and how they are approaching celebrations, shopping occasions and socializing in this new phase of the pandemic. To learn more, visit NRF’s Valentine’s Day headquarters.