If you’re one of the millions of consumers joyfully sharing your life with someone right now, the National Retail Federation thinks you’re really going to show it this Valentine’s Day.
The organization projects total spending on significant others is set to reach a record $14.2 billion this year.
And while inflation has affected a host of categories across the economy in recent years, the projected higher spending is not necessarily the result of higher prices.
Instead, American consumers are reprioritizing how they are spending, and who they are spending on.
In years past, shoppers may have also purchased Valentine’s Day gifts to commemorate platonic relationships with their children’s teachers or close friends, they are less likely to do that this time around, according to the National Retail Federation.
‘People are normalizing their Valentine’s spending when it comes to what they purchase for non-romantic relationships in their lives,’ said Katherine Cullen, NRF vice president for industry and consumer insights. ‘They’re getting back to the true purpose of celebrating romantic relationships.’
Where are people planning to open their pocketbooks most for Valentine’s 2024? The NRF expects record spending for jewelry, flowers, clothing and an evening out.
Cullen said many consumers are still feeling comfortable financially as the rate of inflation has eased and unemployment remains low.
Still, they are ultimately going to be somewhat more choosy than in the immediate post-pandemic period as they ‘rotate their wallets’ toward more important areas of their lives.
‘The focus is now on significant others,’ Cullen said.