Spending on Valentine’s Day has increased, but American’s aren’t in love with the holiday like they were before the recession, according to data from the National Retail Federation.
The average person plans to spend $130.97 on gifts for their loved ones, which is up from $126.03 last year. Total spending on the holiday will hit $18.6 billion.
“Valentine’s Day remains one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, and although consumers will be conscientious with their spending, it’s great to see that millions of Americans are still looking forward to celebrating with their loved ones,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement from the company.
Despite the increase in spending, the participation levels still remain below pre-recession levels.
Sixty percent of American consumers said they would be celebrating Valentine’s Day, which is a three-percentage point drop from 2009. Participation hit 58 percent in 2011, the lowest in nine years.
Men plan to spend about $175.61 on gifts this Valentine’s Day while women are planning nearly half, spending only $88.78 this year.
Consumers sounded off in a recent piece in on Time.com.
“Guys seem to spend handsomely mainly to avoid being in the doghouse with their partner,” Kit Yarrow, chair of the psychology department at Golden Gate University, said in her Time.com article. “When I asked eight middle-aged, married businessmen at a Toronto airport lounge about Valentine’s Day gifts for their wives, there were groans and eye rolls all around. Yet all were of the opinion that a gift was obligatory. ‘Just to make sure’ was the most common reason given for buying a gift.”
Though others are even more annoyed by the romantic holiday, they still participate.
“It’s a rip-off holiday,” one man said. “They jack up the prices at all the restaurants, flowers, everything is more expensive.” So will he be giving something to his wife of 20-plus years on Valentine’s Day? Of course! “I’ll get her something to wear, I guess.”
There are ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day without dipping into your savings accounts.
A recent article in the Deseret News outlines 14 ways you can save money on the upcoming holiday.
Some of the suggestions include visiting local landmarks, having a karaoke night or going ice skating.