Valentine's Day heart
Image: Pixabay
February 10, 2015

Americans plan to spend generously this Valentine's Day. According to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) Valentine's Day Consumer Spending Survey, the average person celebrating Valentine's Day this year will spend $142.31 on candy, flowers, apparel and more, up from $133.91 last year.

Total Valentine's Day spending this year is expected to reach $18.9 billion, a survey high.

"It's encouraging to see consumers show interest in spending on gifts and Valentine's Day-related merchandise - a good sign for consumer sentiment as we head into 2015," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Hoping to draw in eager shoppers, retailers will offer unique promotions on gifts, meal options at restaurants and even experiences."

According to the NRF survey, while most (53.2%) plan to buy candy, spending a total of $1.7 billion, one in five (21.1%) plans to buy jewelry for a total of $4.8 billion, the highest amount seen since NRF began tracking spending on Valentine's gifts in 2010.

Additionally, 37.8 percent will buy flowers, spending a total of $2.1 billion, and more than one-third (35.1%) will spend on plans for a special night out, including movies and restaurants, totaling $3.6 billion. Celebrants will also spend nearly $2 billion on clothing and $1.5 billion on the gift that keeps on giving: gift cards.

The vast majority of survey respondents (91%) plan to treat their significant others/spouses to something special for the Valentine's Day, with plans to spend an average of $87.94, up from $78.09 last year. Additionally, 58.7 percent will spend an average of $26.26 on other family members and $6.30 on children's classmates/teachers.

A record one in five (21.2%) say they will include their pets in the Valentine's Day fun, looking to spend a $5.28 on average—which equates to a whopping $703 million on pint-sized pet gifts of all varieties.

It seems women are in for the biggest treat this Valentine's Day. Men will spend nearly double what women plan to spend ($190.53 versus $96.58 on average, respectively.) Additionally, adults 25 to 34 will outspend other age groups at an average of $213.04; 35 to 44 year olds will spend an average of $176.21 and 18 to 24 year olds will spend an average of $168.95.