Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. And, whether you’re buying that special someone a gift to show how much you love them or buying yourself something because you’re awesome and you don’t need other people to buy things for you (and there happens to be a whole lot of chocolate on sale right now), you are contributing to one of the biggest consumer holidays of the year.
Last year, 60 per cent of Americans polled in a nation-wide survey said they were going to do something to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Those who celebrated our holiday of love managed to pump between $18 and $20 billion into the economy. That works out to about an average of $134 per person.
This year, due to the continually difficult economic conditions, experts and industry insiders expect the public to play it a little safer, to be a little more frugal. Only 54 percent of Americans say they are going to do something to celebrate the patron saint of lovers, adding up to an estimated $17 billion in sales for purveyors of Valentine’s Day gifts.
Whether you believe in the spirit of the season or you think people have been lured into buying red and pink monstrosities after being inundated with commercial propaganda, there is money to be made on February 14th, and retailers everywhere are ready. Here’s where people will be spending their money this Valentine’s Day.
7 Greeting Cards
$1 Billion In Revenue
They’re cute, they’re classic, and they’re about as cheap as you can get. According to Hallmark, approximately 142 million cards were exchanged last February for Valentine’s day - and that’s not even counting the traditional valentines that will be exchange by school children everywhere. Look for those numbers to hold steady this year.
According to recent surveys, over half of those people with plans this February 14 have said that they’ve purchased at least one card for a spouse or loved one, making a traditional paper valentine the most popular way to say “I Love You” this year. Though card buyers will more than likely buy something else for their sweetheart, they’ll spend on average $15 each, which will add up to over a billion in revenue for the card industry.
$1.4 Billion In Revenue
Interestingly enough, counter to the cliché of a gentleman showing up at the door ladened with bonbons, candy is one of the few retail sectors where women outspend men each year on Valentine’s Day.
According to the National Retail Federation, this year 48 percent of Valentine’s celebrants will splash out at least $20 for candy, of that most will be between the ages of 18 and 34. To the young cash-strapped romantics out there who wanted a gift their loved one would enjoy, but that wouldn’t break the bank, the candy industry owes you a giant thank you.
5 Gift Cards
$1.6 billion in revenue
If you’re looking for that perfect gift that says, “I didn’t want to give you cash, but I wasn’t really sure what you’d like,” then maybe you, like many of Americans should go the gift card route this year.
Though only 14 percent of those surveyed said that they’d be buying their loved one a cash substitute, that small sector will make up a significant portion of this year’s Valentine’s revenue; on average, those who purchase gift cards will spend $65 each. And, while it might not be the most intimate of presents, at least you know that your loved one won’t try to return it.
$1.7 Billion In Revenue
There’s a lot of money to be made in clothing around Valentine’s Day and, judging from the numbers, it’s almost entirely due to sexy lingerie. Despite the fact that only 16 percent of people will buy their loved one something to wear this February 14th, clothing stands as the fourth largest revenue generating industry.
Men and women will spend an average of $85 on their purchases, and women are statistically 5 percent more likely to buy clothing as a gift than men. When broken down by sex, though, men spend on average almost twice what women do on their purchases. Which is to say, it looks like Victoria’s Secret and lingerie stores everywhere are making out like bandits this Valentine's Day.
$2 Billion In Revenue
Flowers have always been important to romance. Back in the more puritanical days, men and women could communicate their feelings secretly through the language of flowers without fear of being interrupted or overheard. These days a bouquet of some sort is a romantic staple for first dates, anniversaries and, most importantly, Valentine’s Day.
While February 14 may be one of a few major commercial holidays, for florists nationwide it stands as their biggest grossing day of business during the year. A bouquet of 12-inch red long stem roses can cost anywhere from $10 at a gas station or street vendor, to over $95 at a high-end florist. This year, 37 percent of Valentine’s romantics will spend about $40 each buying their sweetheart a lovely bundle of flowers. It’s something sure to brighten their day – not to mention that of the florist.
2 An Evening Out
$3.5 Billion In Revenue
Don’t like flowers? Not a fan of chocolates? Insulted by the impersonality of gift cards? Well, then perhaps you, like millions of others, will celebrate your love this year with a romantic dinner for two.
In preparation for the date, restaurants everywhere are putting up decorations, preparing special menus, and filling in the few remaining spaces they have available for reservation. One Manhattan restaurant offers a $30,000 meal it claims is so packed full of aphrodisiac ingredients that a date will find it impossible to say 'no' to any questions that may be popped.
On the other side of the price range, White Castle is offering a romantic dinner it promises won’t break the bank. Wherever on the spectrum you might fall, you stand as part of the 30 percent of Valentine’s celebrants who will spend on average $75 in the name of keeping their relationships and the restaurant business healthy.
$3.9 billion In Revenue
They say clichés exist because they’re often true. If you thought that the idea of diamond earrings or a gold necklace for Valentine’s Day was an overblown trope from movies or TV, think again.
Yes, it is overwhelmingly men buying jewellery for women. Yes, they are spending on average $190 each. Despite talk of conservative spending this year, almost 30 percent of men questioned by the National Retail Federation have said that they plan to or have already bought their loved one something shiny for the holiday. And because of this, the jewelry industry stands as the big winner this Valentine’s Day. Second to the loving couples, of course.