Americans are spending more to show their love this Valentine’s Day. Across the US, people are expected to spend $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, up from $21.8 billion in 2021, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation. Of course, inflation has something to do with that. This rise in valentines spending represents a 9.6% increase. US prices have risen 7.5% in the last year.
Many people are largely sticking with the classics. More than half of those surveyed said they intended to buy chocolate, and 40% planned to buy greeting cards. But experiential gifts like theater or concert tickets are also gaining popularity as people return to activities that were stymied by pandemic restrictions last year.
More survey respondents this year said they wanted to treat their significant other to a night out. Overall, NRF expects Americans to spend $4.3 billion on “evening out” experiences. Restaurant reservation site OpenTable reported a 30% increase in reservations for Feb. 14 compared to last year. The amount of restaurant dining this year is well above 2021 levels.
National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay sees this as a continuation of the sharp increase in consumer spending that’s been going on throughout 2021. Many Americans bought more goods as they found themselves with more money from savings and government stimulus checks, and fewer places to go. This culminated in some $887 billion in holiday spending, a 14% increase that threatened to stress already-stretched supply chains but ultimately didn’t.
Valentine’s Day shoppers are also facing higher prices this year thanks to the highest level of inflation in 40 years. Food prices rose 0.9% in January 2022, making the bill for those romantic Valentine’s dinners even more pricey. Overall, an average consumer is expected to spend $175.41 on gifts, up from $164.76 last year.