Consumers to spend more this Valentine’s Day

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Consumers this year are set to spoil their friends, family and loved ones on Valentine’s Day – and price is not a concern.

According to the national Retail Federation, the average person plans to spend 8.5 percent more this year on chocolates, teddy bears and flowers. The survey shows that the average person will spend $126.03 for Valentine’s Day gifts, up from $116.21 last year. The amount is the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.

“As one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication that our economy continues to move in the right direction,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Anticipating high foot traffic in the coming weeks, retailers have replenished their inventories and will entice shoppers with great deals on everything from special menu items at restaurants to clothing and flowers – and, of course, chocolates.”

Couples will send the most on their partners, with the average person planning to spend $74.12 on their spouse or significant other, up from $68.98 last year. Consumers will spend an average of $25.25 on children, parents and family members, and $6.92 on friends. And, some won’t leave out furry friends either – people are expected o spend about $4.52 on their pets.

Men are dipping into their wallets the deepest. The average male is expected to spend $168.74 on clothing, jewelry, greeting cards and more this year – twice as much as women are spending.

In addition to traditional gift ideas, more than eight in 10 people will buy jewelry – the most popular item in the survey. Some will buy cards, candy and flowers, and 35.6 percent will treat someone to an evening out.

Jewelry spending is expected to reach $4.1 billion this year, up from $3.5 billion. Second to jewelry, those with a case of the love bug will spend more than $3.5 billion on a special event out. Consumers will also spend $1.8 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy, $1.4 billion on clothing and $.1.1 billion on gift cards.