February 14, 2023
Today’s Nation & World section of my local newspaper reported that Valentine’s Day spending in the US is projected to be US$26 billion, up from a paltry US$24 billion last year. The study of 7,616 adults found consumers intend to spend most of this money on loved ones, but there would also be a return to the pre-pandemic habit of also acknowledging others. Overall spending is expected to nearly match the 2020 pre-pandemic peak, making it the second highest level since the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics began tracking the day’s spending in 2004. One of the fastest growing categories is for pet-related items.
When I looked online, I found The National Retail Federation (NRF) said Valentine’s Day spending in America will average US$192.80 per person, making Valentine’s Day the third most expensive holiday in the US, just behind Christmas and Halloween. Men tend to spend twice as much on average than women ($235 vs. $119). The top gifts for 2023 are candy (57%), greeting cards (40%), flowers (37%), and providing an evening out (32%). This comes while the consumer price index shows cards and gift wrap are up 16% from a year ago, candy is up 11%, dining out is up 8%, and jewelry and flowers are up about 6%. Around 36% of those surveyed said they expect their partner to spend at least US$50 on their Valentine’s Day gift. With the ease of pandemic concerns, 41% of Americans say they would love to receive an experience as a gift this year, such as an evening out or tickets to a concert or sporting event.
Not all gifts are considered equal, and over $9.5 billion is spent on unwanted gifts each Valentine’s Day. According to WalletHub, you can consider it a waste of money to give gifts like tools (Honey-Do), gym memberships (you need to shape up), sporting equipment (or be more active), kitchen appliances (so you can cook), cheesy stuffed animals (to put next to the pillows on the bed), or a mixtape (all I could think of). A recent study from Finder.com shows that over 72.5 million people also spoil their pets on Valentine’s Day. Dog owners spend around US$31.24 on their canine companions ($1.28 billion total), while cat owners spend around US$27.42, on their feline friends ($863 million total). Generationally, Millennials spend the most on pet gifts, with around US$37.68 for dogs and US$30.16 for cats. It sounds like I need to get Zena another pup-cup.
THOUGHTS: The reason I gave you the heads up last Saturday is that retailers walk a fine line between overstocking expected gifts to running out of the latest craze. If your partner asks for something specific and it is not delivered, another expensive gift will not be what is remembered. Love and paying attention to detail are always a good way to go. Act for all. Change is coming and it starts with you.