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More than half of Americans plan to buy candy this Valentine’s Day

Average shopper expected to spend $130.97 total on the day of love.

February 13, 2013
valentines day chuao
Chuao Chocolatier's Aphrodisiac Bonbon Collection

It looks like candy is still the weapon of choice for Cupids across the country this Valentine’s Day.

More than half (51.1 percent) of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation (NRF) said they plan to buy candy for Valentine’s Day this year, spending $1.6 billion in total.  

And, overall, the average person plans to spend $130.97 on candy, cards, gifts and more on the day of love — up nearly five dollars from last year’s $126.03. Total spending is expected to reach $18.6 billion, the NRF says.

“Valentine’s Day remains one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, and although consumers will be conscientious with their spending, it’s great to see that millions of Americans are still looking forward to celebrating with their loved ones,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo.

The holiday is in fact evolving to include more than just lovers. While people do plan to spend the most on their significant other ($73.75), 60.6 percent of shoppers plan to show their appreciation for other family members by spending an average of $26.46 on them. And, 25.2 percent plan to spend $8.49 on friends, while 13.2 percent plan to spend $5.12 on colleagues.

Humans won’t have all the fun though. One in five shoppers plan to buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets this year, spending a total of $815 million.

The good news for ladies everywhere is that men do seem to be getting all the hints they’ve  dropped. Men plan to spend an average of $175.61 this year, while women only plan to spend $88.78.

Where shoppers plan to spend that money is evolving. About 41 percent of smartphone owners plan to use their devices to shop for gifts, while 46.9 percent of tablet owners plan to use their electronic tools to purchase items, research gift ideas and more, according to the NRF.

Online Valentine’s Day gift sales also are expected to increase. The NRF found that more than one quarter (26.3 percent) of shoppers plan to buy a gift via the internet this year, up from 19.6 percent last year and the most in the survey’s 10-year history.

However, traditional brick and mortar stores will still draw the biggest crowds, with 39.6 percent of shoppers planning to swing by a discount store to pick up a Valentine’s Day gift, and 33.2 percent planning to go to a department store.

They’re followed by speciality stores (22.9 percent), flora shops (19.6 percent), jewelry stores (11.2 percent), speciality clothing stores (7.5 percent) and catalogs (2.6 percent).

“The mantra, ‘It’s the thought that counts,’ might be most applicable for holidays like Valentine’s Day, and there’s no question that this year’s budget-conscious gift givers will keep this in mind while out looking for the perfect gift,” says Pam Goodfellow,  BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director. “There will be no shortage of deals in the coming days, so frugal consumers will keep a keen eye out for promotions on chocolates, flowers and even dining.”

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