Consumers Embracing Non-Traditional Ways to Mark Valentine’s Day

SurveysJan 30, 2023

Consumers Embracing Non-Traditional Ways to Mark Valentine’s Day

The NRF’s annual survey shows that consumer attitudes about how, or even whether, to celebrate Feb. 14 continue to evolve.

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For its annual Valentine’s Day survey, the National Retail Federation polled more than 7,000 consumers, asking them how much they plan to spend and where they will shop for gifts and other Valentine’s Day-related items.
Washington, D.C.—The National Retail Federation has released its annual Valentine’s Day survey, which gives insight into what U.S. consumers plan to do and give this Feb. 14, and how much they plan to spend.

NRF conducted the survey between Jan. 3-11, polling 7,616 U.S. adult consumers. 

Jewelry was the sixth most popular gift to give mentioned by survey-takers, behind the Valentine’s Day standards of candy (57 percent), greeting cards (40 percent), flowers (37 percent), an evening out (32 percent), and a gift of experience, meaning concert tickets, a spa day, skydiving, etc. (32 percent).

Twenty-one percent of consumers polled said they plan to give jewelry as a gift, with total spending potentially topping $5.5 billion.

Jewelry topped both gift cards (20 percent) and clothing (19 percent) as Valentine’s Day gifts this year.

The NRF’s survey also showed consumer attitudes about whether to celebrate Valentine’s Day, as well as how and with whom, continue to evolve in lockstep with attitudes about traditional romantic relationships.

The percentage of survey-takers who said they plan to celebrate Feb. 14 continues to hover around 50 percent (52 percent this year, down slightly from 53 percent last year), as it has for the past decade.

The last time the percentage of Valentine’s Day devotees topped 50 percent was 2013, when it stood at 60 percent. 

However, a not-insignificant percentage of respondents said they plan to observe the day in a less traditional manner. 

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According to the NRF, 28 percent of the survey-takers who said they don’t plan to officially celebrate Valentine’s Day will still mark the day in some way, by seeking out non-Valentine’s Day gifts, treating themselves to something special, or planning a get-together or evening out with single friends and/or family members.

Meanwhile, those formally celebrating Feb. 14 plan to spend more money on people (or animals) who aren’t their significant others this year. 

The average amount consumers plan to spend this Valentine’s Day is $192.80, up about $17 when compared with last year ($175.41). 

While the average planned spending on gifts for significant others and family members held steady around $130, the amount people plan to spend on pets, friends, coworkers and their children’s teachers and/or classmates rose to $52.65 from $38.36 last year. 

Some other points of note from the NRF’s Valentine’s Day survey: 
-- Consumers ages 35 to 44 plan to spend the most of any age group, an average of $335.71 for gifts and other Valentine’s Day items;
-- The top shopping destination for Valentine’s Day gifts is online (35 percent), followed by department stores (34 percent), discount stores (31 percent) and specialty stores (18 percent);
-- More than half of consumers surveyed this year said they plan to take advantage of any sales or promotions; and 
-- The percentage of consumers planning to give a gift of experience (32 percent) is up from 26 percent last year and 24 percent in 2021—when the pandemic hampered people’s ability to get out—and the highest since the NRF started asking about experiences-as-gifts in 2017.  

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