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All You Need Is Love...and Money

Recession takes a bite out of love

February 13, 2009

Those lucky enough to have found love this year will be clutching their wallets a bit more tightly as the recession puts a crimp in Cupid’s quiver.

Consumers plan to spend an average of $102.50 on Valentine’s Day gifts and merchandise, down from last year’s $122.98 per person, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF’s) “2009 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions” survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

Average Amount Spent for Valentine's Day According to US Consumers, 2003-2009

Valentine’s shoppers may be spending less, but they’ll still be buying holiday favorites. The survey found that over one-third (35.7%) of people will buy flowers, nearly the same as last year’s 35.9%, and 16% will buy jewelry, compared with 16.6% in 2008. In addition, 47% of those polled will go out to dinner, 10.2% will purchase clothing for their sweetie and 11% will shop for a gift card or gift certificate.

“E-commerce will benefit from consumer spending for Valentine’s Day because much of that spending will be for discretionary goods, which is where the Internet channel excels,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst. “The Internet is also the ideal place to find unusual and fashionable gifts that make for a memorable occasion.”

All told, total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion, according to the NRF.

Meanwhile, the loveless will persevere—helping to boost US online dating revenues by 3% in 2009 to $1.32 billion, according to Piper Jaffray & Co.

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