I Love (to Shop for) You: Valentine's Day Spending Will Rise


Chances are, you'll be more generous with your honey this Valentine's Day than last.

Consumer spending on the holiday is expected to exceed last year's levels, according to surveys from the National Retail Federation and American Express (AMEX).

Shoppers will shell out an estimated $126.03 on Valentine's Day gifts this holiday, up 8.5% from 2011, according to the NRF's Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch. American Express predicts consumers will spend even more: about $196, 8% more than last year, as 54% of shoppers plan to purchase on the lovers' holiday versus 41% in 2011, Amex's Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey revealed.

The Amex report polled a sample of 2,000 consumers, while the NRF polled 8,913.

"Consumers have been consistent in saying they have a little more spending power, despite the uncertainty of the economy," Melanie Backs, manager of public affairs for American Express, tells DailyFinance. "We've seen this in our surveys over the last few months -- from Halloween to [the] holidays and even travel -- and Valentine's Day is right in line with that trend."

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Total spending on the holiday is projected to reach an estimated $17.6 billion, the NRF says.

It's also looking like a big year for bling, with 18.9% of shoppers saying they'll buy jewelry. That's the highest percentage in the NRF survey's history, up from 17.3% last year. Meanwhile, half of the gift-givers surveyed (50.5%) will buy candy, 36% will purchase flowers and 35.6% will spend on an evening out.

Couples will also spend more on Valentine-related travel plans, as 4 million engagements are anticipated this holiday, Amex says. "Engagementcations" -- engagement vacations -- are up the uptick, with 30% of consumers citing a weekend getaway or vacation as a prime setting to pop the big question, the Amex survey says.

Whatever they purchase, more consumers will tap their mobile devices as they shop for their Valentine's Day gifts: More than half of the shoppers surveyed who own tablet computers said they'll use them to research product information, compare prices, redeem coupons, while four in 10 shoppers with smartphones will use them to do the same, the NRF survey said.

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