As Valentine’s Day approaches, the last minute stress of finding the perfect gift begins to slowly creep into our brains…and our wallets. A holiday born from the unwavering dedication of St. Valentine to marry Roman soldiers and preserve the tradition of love has somehow been transformed into a celebration of love through the purchase of goods. Huh? If St. Valentine knew how misconstrued his intentions have become, his heart would break…
Love it or hate it, there is no avoiding Valentine’s Day. More than half of the U.S. population observes Valentine’s Day; making it extremely valuable to any business seeking to make it a holiday to remember. The restaurant, hotel, flower, online dating, card, jewelry and chocolate industries all bank on consumers wanting to express their love and impress their sweeties. To accommodate the surge in product demand, these industries adjust their costs and edit their services. The price inflation of goods for the occasion doesn’t seem to distract love addicts from participating. In fact, Valentine’s Day sees steady to increasing profits annually and comes in second to Christmas as the most expensive holiday. This year’s holiday is estimated to contribute around $18.6 billion dollars to the economy; which is about $1 billion more than 2012’s spending and to date the highest projected revenue on record.
So what are people buying? A survey was conducted that showed on average consumers would spend around $131, with men spending more than women. Typically, married couples spend less money to woo their honeys, spending around $74 per spouse. Popular purchases such as flowers are projected to bring in around $13.19 billion while its yummy counterpart chocolate holds its ground at $1.6 billion. Jewelry is not the most popular gift, as only 1 in 5 are looking to splurge on the shiny presents. However few those shoppers are, big ticket price tags result in big time sales – contributing $4.4 billion to the jewelry industry. On average, most consumers indulge in practical gifts such as clothing and the least chosen Valentine’s Day gift option is gift cards, coming in at a lowly $1.5 billion.
Judging by numbers, it seems as if consumers are wildly spending. In reality, more people are discount shopping this year as compared to last year’s budget. Fewer purchases are being made in department stores. Instead, customers are bargain hunting and shopping around for the best deals within a myriad of retailers. Helping shoppers find deals is use of tables and smartphones. Discount apps and mobile websites allow for consumers to peruse online inventory, redeem coupons and bid for items all without stepping foot in a retail store.
Even in the midst of economic rehabilitation in America, Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday and a multi-billion dollar business that continues to see growth with no signs of decline. As long as there are new couples, secret admirers or spouses looking to keep the love flame burning, there will be Valentine’s Day gifts. Who says money can’t buy love?