This Valentine’s Day, Couples Cut Back on Gifts to Each Other, According to NRF

-Men to Spend Twice as Much on Gifts as Women-

As husbands and wives across America continue to focus on reining in their spending, it seems couples this year plan to spend less on each other but more on their family, friends, co-workers…even their pets. According to NRF’s 2010 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, couples will spend an average of $63.34 on gifts for their significant other or spouse, compared to $67.22 last year. The average person will shell out $103.00 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year, similar to last year’s $102.50. Total holiday spending is expected to reach $14.1 billion.*

With Americans cutting back on the amount they spend on their significant other, friends and co-workers can expect a little bit more this year. The average person will spend $5.37 on friends, up from $4.74 last year; $4.29 on classmates and teachers, compared to $3.59 last year; and $2.84 on co-workers, slightly up from the $1.94 they spent in 2009. Family pets will also feel the love this year with the average person spending $3.27 on their furry friends, up from $2.17 last year. Spending on family members will remain the same ($20.94 vs. $20.95 last year).

“While some may view Valentine’s Day as cliché, many people still look forward to giving significant others, friends, family and even pets something special,” said Tracy Mullin, President and CEO, NRF. “Rather than not give anything at all, consumers will instead focus on small, thoughtful gifts for the people who mean the most to them this year.”

As in previous years, men will spend nearly twice the amount women spend on the holiday. The average man plans to shell out $135.35 to impress the people in his life while women only expect to spend $72.28.

Personal and practical gifts will resonate with celebrants again this year as more people will look to sweaters, winter accessories and other clothing options (14.4% vs. 10.2% in 2009) in place of jewelry (15.5% vs. 16.0% last year) or an evening out (35.6% vs. 47.0% in 2009.) Traditional gifts such as greeting cards (54.9%), candy (47.2%) and flowers (35.6%) remain popular choices.

“The economy has forced consumers to rethink their gift giving practices,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch. “Personal and unique gifts will speak volumes this Valentine’s Day as consumers dig deep into their hearts and not their wallets.”

When it comes to where people will shop, most will head to discount stores (40.9%), though department stores (31.1%) and specialty stores such as florists, electronics stores and greeting cards and gift stores (21.4%) will also see a share of holiday foot traffic.**

About the Survey

The NRF 2010 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The poll of 9,578 consumers was conducted from January 5-13, 2010. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 8,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry’s key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees – about one in five American workers – and 2009 sales of $4.1 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations.


* Total extrapolation of U.S. population of adults 18+
** This is the first year NRF has asked where people will shop for Valentine’s Day. No comparable data is available.


Kathy Grannis (202)783-7971

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