The Beatles once said ‘Money can’t buy me love’, but it must help – because 53% of women have said that they would end a relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day (no pressure guys). There’s a huge variety of ways to spend your hard-earned cash this Valentine’s Day, from romantic meals to cheesy cards the market is flooded with adverts of the best way to show your other half what is in your heart.
Historically Saint Valentine’s Day is founded on the legend of a saint imprisoned for illegally marrying soldiers, and even today there is a strong link between February 14th and marriage – last year it is estimated that 6 million proposals were made on V-Day. But not everyone is planning to celebrate the commercialisation of love – a mere 54% of Americans are bothering to mark the occasion (a 6% decrease on last year). Is that we’ve become less romantic, or is it simply that in these tough economic times we are weary of the constant demands on our wallet?
Every year the 14th February is a key boost for retailers in the winter months, and this year it’s forecast to contribute around $17.3 billion to the economy. Those of us who do decide to mark the occasion this year are looking to spend around $130 for the day. There are always those hopeless romantics willing to break the bank for ostentatious demonstrations of adoration – this year, Michelin-starred chef Adam Simmonds has created a $99,500 ultimate Valentine’s Day meal, containing a variety of aphrodisiacs which he will personally prepare in a customer’s home.
So whether you are planning to go big this Friday or make a more modest display of your affection here are the top ten costs you may encounter on Valentine’s Day…
10. Dating sites
It’s never too late to look for love (although looking for a date the day before Valentine’s Day might be cutting it fine). Internet dating sites often experience a surge in membership as V-day approaches, with over 40 million Americans having tried online dating. Top site Match.com has over 20 million members, meaning the chance of meeting ‘the one’, or at least a decent intermin one, is pretty good statistically. The annual revenue of the online dating industry is currently over $1.2 billion, so looking for love is also an attractive business for budding web-entrepreneurs. Plus-sized or inked up, from vegetarians to bookworms (and even the controversial ‘sugardaddy.com’) the wide range of sites allow those seeking love to find their ideal match.
9. Presents for pets
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just been dumped or are perpetually single; your pet will always love you unconditionally. It’s perhaps for this reason that many Americans include them in the Valentine’s Day gift-giving – on average $5 will be spent per person on their furry companions this Friday. Occupying a surprising market-share, last year $850 million was spent on pets presents for Valentine’s Day and, given this is a $300 million increase on 2012, we can expect another hefty spend on heart-shaped chew toys and romantic novelty treats.
In our increasingly tech-savvy society the quickest way to a loved-one’s heart may be through their gadgets. Traditionally marketed as male gifts, electronics are also great gifts for women (amazon is currently marking Kindles at a surprisingly affordable price for Valentine’s Day). Splashing out on a new camera or upgrading your partner’s phone could be the perfect gift, but this is rarely cheap (Fox News’s recommendation, the Cannon A2600, is $130). For those on a tighter budget, accessories such as personalised cases can be popular, and possibly more romantic.
7. Gift cards
Unimaginative and impersonal, or the best way to make sure your partner gets exactly what they want? Gift certificates often get a bad reputation as too obviously putting a price-tag on love, however over 1 in 8 women would like to receive a gift card this Valentine’s Day. Experience packages and spa treatments can show ingenuity and caring beyond a generic box of chocolates or bunch of flowers. Last year gift-certificates accounted for 15% of Valentine’s Day gifts, with experience-based certificates offering the opportunity for future romantic dates and store-credit taking the stress out of gift-buying it is no wonder they are so popular
For the adventurous gift-giver lingerie is guaranteed to get a reaction on Valentine’s Day (hopefully positive, sometimes frosty if the size has been grossly miscalculated and, depending on the stage of the relationship, possibly a little awkward). By the NRF’s estimate last year $1.6 billion was spent on lingerie for Valentine’s Day, making it one of the biggest V-Day expenses. Victoria’s Secret sets are currently selling for up to $200 (which a lot to spend for so little fabric) but for many this will be money well-spent.
Jewellery is not as popular as other more cost-effective gifts, however last year $4.4 billion was spent on diamonds, gold and silver for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year for proposals and it is estimated that 1 in 10 proposals are made on V-Day. With no discernable upper limit on the price of engagement rings (Jay-Z is said to have spent $5million on Beyoncé’s) it is no wonder takings for Valentine’s Day are so high for Jewelry stores.
Roses are red, Violets are blue, buy me a bunch and I’ll always love you. Every Valentine’s Day florists fill as last-minute bouquets are picked up at premium prices. Flowers are a classic show of love and in the Victorian age different varieties were used as symbols of an assortment of affections. Roses may be a holiday favourite but they come at a price on the day where supply and demand are in a florists favour. A single stem could cost $5-$8 in New York on V-day, whilst dozen of the red blooms could see you parting with up to $100 from high-end florists. The USA flower trade is big business, taking in $1.9 billion last Valentine’s Day, 73% of which was spent by men (whilst 14% of women admitted to sending a bunch to themselves).
Dinner is the classic Valentine’s Day date, with 65% of men planning to give dinner to their partner this Friday. Some may spice up their dining experience with aphrodisiacs such as oysters, pomegranates and chocolate. Others may choose a romantic setting; the spirit of New York Valentine’s dinner cruise (at $120 per person) is often a popular choice for locals and tourists alike. The price of a Valentine’s Day meal may vary considerably depending on your taste and means, but expect to pay considerably for the privilege of a romantic dinner (and don’t forget to book in advance!)
Who could resist a box of yummy heart-shaped goodies? Perhaps because of its universal appeal, Candy is the second most-given gift on Valentine’s Day. Last year $1.6 billion was spent on candy on V-Day, however this year only 41% of men are planning on giving their loved-one chocolates. Following unrealistic January diets it is no wonder that candy is so popular with men and women alike. Although its sugar content may not be very good for you, chocolate has been shown to act as an aphrodisiac and stimulates the release of endorphins, so you could say it is one of the best gifts for making your partner happy this holiday.
Shakespeare was once employed to write sonnets for lovers to give to one another, and putting your feelings down on paper is still one of the most popular way to show affection with 180 million Valentines cards exchanged annually. There are soppy romantic verses of undying love, simple designs giving you the room to write a long personal message, and even tongue-in-cheek joke cards to make your partner giggle. Although they are popular across America there is a clear gender-bias as it is estimated that around 85% of the cards are bought by women. Valentine’s Day is ranked as the second highest-selling holiday for Hallmark (after Christmas) proving that declarations of love are big business.