Washington—Gift givers are hoping their significant others will be wearing their hearts on their sleeves—or lapels, necklines, fingers or ears. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s NRF’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight, more than eight in 10 (18.9%) men said they will buy jewelry for their Valentines this year, up from 17.3% last year and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history.
Total spending on jewelry is expected to reach $4.1 billion, up from $3.5 billion last year. Second to jewelry, those with a case of the love bug will spend more than $3.5 billion on a special evening out. Consumers will also spend $1.8 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy, $1.4 billion on clothing and $1.1 billion on gift cards.
Sears, which partnered with Sentient Decision Science on its own Valentine’s survey of more than 1,000 men and women, found that a third of women (29%) would choose jewelry if they could pick only one gift to receive for Valentine’s Day this year.
Despite a pullback in spending following holiday, consumers evidently don’t plan to scrimp when it comes to their Valentines.
The NRF study found that the average person celebrating the holiday will shell out $126.03, up 8.5% over last year’s $116.21 and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.
“As one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication our economy continues to move in the right direction,” said Matthew Shay, NRF’s president/ceo. “Anticipating high foot traffic in the coming weeks, retailers have replenished their inventories and will entice eager shoppers with great deals on everything from special menu items at restaurants to clothing to flowers and, of course, chocolates.”
Couples, Men to Spend the Most
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. Even animal companions are included in the festivities; the average person will spend about $4.52 on their pets.
The survey also found the average man 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.
“Celebrated by children who give Valentines to their teachers and classmates, family members who make sure to send greeting cards across the miles and couples who wish to show their appreciation for each other, Valentine’s Day means more than what’s simply on the surface,” said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at BIGinsight. “This year we could very well see some consumers searching high and low and stopping at nothing to make sure their loved ones receive the perfect gift.”
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% last year. Online retailers will also see a nice boost from the business of love as nearly one out of five (19.3%) will shop online for gifts this Valentine’s Day, up from 18.1% last year. Others will shop at specialty stores (20.2%), floral shops (17.8%), jewelry stores (10.6%) and specialty clothing stores (6.6%).
More than Half of Tablet Owners to Use Device to Buy Valentine’s Day Gifts
After honing their mobile and tablet shopping skills during the past holiday season, Valentine’s Day celebrants are looking to hit their smartphones and tablets once again to research and purchase gifts. According to the survey, 53.8% said they will use their devices to research products, compare prices, redeem coupons, look up retailer information or purchase products. Four in 10 (40.4%) smartphone owners will use their mobile device to do the same.
About the Survey
The NRF 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted for NRF by BIGinsight was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The poll of 9,317 consumers was conducted from January 4-11. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0%.