Consumer Nation

Got to Love This: Valentine's Day Sales Seen Higher

After splurging on the holidays, it seems Americans are still in a gift-giving mood.

Two recent surveys are projecting higher spending on the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday. That bodes well for consumer spending in general.

The projects the average person will spend $116.21 on Valentine's Day merchandise this year, up 11 percent over last year's $103.00. Total holiday spending is expected to reach $15.7 billion.

And research firm has an even rosier forecast  when you look at the total spent. While IBISWorld expects spending to rise only 5.8 percent from last year, it's predicting consumers to spend about $125 each for a nationwide total of $18.6 billion.

"Jewelry, candy and apparel sales should provide a nice boost for retailers during the typically slower months of January and February," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

The found greeting cards will be the most popular gift option, with 52.1 percent of those surveyed planning to buy a card. Jewelry is next on the list, with 17.3 percent planning to bring on the bling. Last year, only 15.5 percent of those surveyed said they would give jewelry.

"Luxury spending is already on the rise, so it will come as no surprise that bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings will be the go-to gift choice for many Americans," said Nikoleta Panteva, a retail industry analyst at IBISWorld. Panteva expects jewelry to make up 7.8 percent of all Valentine's Day sales, which will help the category make its way back to pre-recessionary levels.

IBISWorld also expects travel getaways to make a hefty jump this year, up 5.7 percent from last year, while spending on dining out will rise 3.8 percent.

I'm sure after the winter wallop that the Northeast is getting, there are plenty of people who would appreciate a trip to a warmer climate.

With Valentine's Day on a Monday, it may be hard for some people to dine out, but that time could benefit other traditional Valentine's Day categories such as flowers, candy and lingerie.

IBISWorld expects all of those categories to ring up higher sales than a year ago.

But another survey, this one taken by e-commerce payments company eBillme, said 60 percent of those who responded to its survey are looking for something to give that's different than chocolate or flowers. Last year, 57 percent of the respondents told eBillme that they were looking for other types of gifts.

Based on the findings of the NRF survey, the love will be spread around with couples this year spending an average of $68.98, up from $63.34. Even Fido will feel the love, as spending on pets will continue to rise, this year to an estimated average of $5.04 from $3.27 last year.

The increase in spending on significant others is notable. It's the first time since 2008 that consumers said they would spend more on their other half.

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