We already know that Valentine's Day is a cash cow for retail — but have you ever wanted to know exactly how much money Americans spend on Valentine's Day? Because the answer has now been made clear, thanks to the National Retail Federation's Valentine's Day Consumer Spending Survey. In fact, many answers have been made clear, because the whole thing stretches far, far beyond simply naming one round figure. Spoiler alert, though: That one figure is in there, and it's big. Really big. Big enough, according to the Chicago Tribune, to set a new record. I guess we really love our heart-shaped chocolates, don't we?
The NFR teamed up with Prosper Insights and Analytics on this year's survey to gauge not only how much Americans are expected to spend for the heart-strewn holiday, but also what they'll likely spend it on. The results are something of a change from last year, a fact even the titles of the two years' reports reflect: In 2014, the NRF's release was titled "Consumers Keep Budgets in Check This Valentine's Day"; in contrast, this year's proclaims, "Cupid to Shower Americans with Jewelry, Candy This Valentine's Day." What you take away from this shift will probably depend on a number of personal factors (whether you think V Day is awesome or a sham, whether you hate consumerist culture or don't really mind it, whether you think economic growth is something to aspire to or to minimize, and so on) — but I think it's interesting nonetheless. Do with that what you will.
You can check out the whole report over at the NRF's website, but for the curious, here's a snapshot of what February 14 is expected to look like by the numbers:
- $142.31: The amount the average person celebrating Valentine's Day will spend. The number rose just under $10 from last year; in 2014, the average was $133.91.
- $11.7 billion: The total amount we'll spend on significant others.
- Just under $1 billion: The total amount we'll spend on friends.
- $703 million: The total amount we'll spend on our pets, because apparently buying Valentine's Day gifts for creatures who neither know nor care about it is a thing in this wacky, crazy world. As Consumerist points out, though, that's only $5.28 per pet owner, which isn't so bad — we pretty much limit our pet spending to thematically-appropriate toys and treats. Given that humans like to include their pets in all forms of celebration, it's not as surprising as you might think.
- 53.2 percent: The percentage of adults who plan to gift candy this year.
- 51.4 percent: The figure for greeting cards.
- 35.1 percent: And the one for an evening out. I would argue this is the best option; spending money on experiences is usually more rewarding and memorable than spending it on things.
- $18.9 billion: The total amount Americans are expected to collectively spend this year. This is the figure that will be record-breaking if it the prediction comes to pass.
Head on over to NRF's website to see the full results of the Valentine's Day Consumer Spending Survey.