After a decade-long increase and a record high in 2016, consumers are expected to cut back on Valentine’s Day spending this year.
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, consumers planned to spend an average of $136.57 this year, down from $146.84 in 2016. Total spending is expected to reach $18.2 billion, down from $19.7 billion in 2016.
Prosper Insights & Analytics conducted the survey of 7,591 consumers.
Consumers are finding new — and sometimes less expensive ways — to celebrate. They might opt for at-home dinners or meal delivery services instead of more upscale selections.
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Nearly a quarter of consumers surveyed plan to give a gift of experience, especially millennials (ages 18 to 34). These gifts could include an at-home spa date or a romantic weekend getaway.
Only 47 percent of consumers were planning on giving a Valentine’s Day card this year, compared to 65 percent a decade ago. Some consumers will turn to emojis and Snapchat filters to share their messages of love, according to the NRF survey.
But smiley faces are no substitute for candy. Half of those consumers responding to the survey said they will purchase Valentine’s candy.
About 92 percent of the consumers said they would spend an extra $10 to reach 2016 levels, especially if they found a really good sale or promotion, or even if they found a “perfect” gift. Retailers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Target have been offering gift recommendations for pets, significant others and co-workers, and in a range of price points that might inspire unplanned purchases.