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Police in Canada cleared protesters from the Ambassador Bridge. The crossing had been blocked for six days by truckers demonstrating against covid mandates. But “freedom convoy” protests are spreading around the world.
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What to watch for
US consumers are set to spend close to $24 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, a 9.6% increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Most people plan to buy V-day classics like chocolate, cards, and flowers. But they’ll be spending more, thanks in part to inflation. US prices have risen 7.5% in the last year.
Experiential gifts like theater or concert tickets are also gaining popularity as people return to activities that were stymied by pandemic restrictions last year. The NRF expects Americans to spend $4.3 billion on “evening out” experiences, and restaurant reservation site OpenTable reported a 30% increase in reservations for Feb. 14 compared to last year.
Overall, the average US consumer is expected to spend $175.41 on gifts, up from $164.76 last year. While roses are traditional, orchid sales are booming in the US.
Hot for inflation
Americans aren’t just spending more on gifts. The US’s January inflation report shows that the economy has ironed out some pandemic disruptions—but is still very much mired in others.
For example, prices for rental cars, which skyrocketed in the spring and summer of 2021 as newly vaccinated consumers started to travel and cars got more expensive with semiconductor shortages, dropped by 7% in January after falling 2.7% a month before.
But some goods haven’t been so lucky. If you want to look spiffy for your Valentine, be prepared to spend a little bit more on the garb. Men’s suits are 13.6% more expensive than a year ago.
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