Love—or at least its commercial incarnation—seems to be losing its ability to make people loosen their purse strings. Not only will fewer people be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, but they will also be spending less on average on gifts for their loved ones. A survey of over 7,500 people conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics shows a 10% drop in those who will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year as compared to 2016.
In total, consumers are expected to spend $18.2 billion for 2017, a sharp 7.6% drop as compared to the record $19.7 billion spent last year. This year’s spend is lower than the spending pattern of three out of the past four years. The only other time that spending declined in that period was 2014, when the spending figure totaled to $17.3 billion.
On average, this year customers will shell out $136.57 which is nearly $10 less than what they spent last year. Keeping in line with the trend from the previous year, men will spend almost twice as more as women. On average, for a man the expense would run up to about $177 whereas a woman is likely to cough up a little less than $98.
“Valentine’s Day continues to be a popular gift-giving occasion even if consumers are being more frugal this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.
Who are the gifts for?
Consumers are likely to spend $11.37 billion on their spouses and partners this Valentine’s Day, 5.7% lower than the $12 billion they spent last year. Spending on children and parents will also be down about 5% to $3.5 billion, whereas consumers will spend almost 27% less on their co-workers this Valentine’s day as compared to the previous year.
Customers will also spend close $876 million on gifts for their children's classmates and teachers.
What are the popular gifts?
Almost 50% of the customers in the survey said they will gift candy, whereas 47% said their loved ones will get greeting cards from them. Both these smaller ticket items will see consumers spending $1.7 billion and $1 billion respectively.
Customers will spend $3.8 billion on an evening out this Valentine’s Day, a near 15% reduction from $4.4 billion they would have spent last year. This drop seems significant, especially since 37% of the survey respondents said they would celebrate out as compared to 38.3% in 2016.
The spending on jewelry will decline as well to $4.3 billion, down about 3.8%. Flowers are perhaps the only gifts that consumers will spend more on this year. 35% people said they will buy flowers, with total consumer spending on flowers at $2 billion, a 2% increase over last year.
Where will shoppers buy the gifts?
Department stores are the top choice for people picking up gifts this year, closely followed by discount stores. The survey pegs nearly a third to shop online.
Interestingly, in a follow up poll by NRF and ORC, 49% said they would be willing to spend more if they got a good deal. While where they shop conforms to last year’s trend, it is clear that buyers are hunting for deals.
“This is one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care regardless of their budget. Consumers will find that retailers recognize that their customers are looking for the best deals and will offer good bargains just as they did during the holiday season.”
This could perhaps be a good opportunity for retailers like Macy’s (M), Nordstrom (JWN), Target (TGT) and JC Penny (JCP) to attract shoppers with V-day deals, especially after a disappointing holiday season.