Valentine's Day Spending Reaches New Heights

Sixty-two percent of consumers aged 25-34 plan to celebrate this year, more than any other age group.
Danielle Romano
Managing Editor
heart-shaped box of chocolates

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Valentine's Day is hitting the sweet spot for more consumers this year.

More than half of consumers (53%) plan to celebrate on Feb. 14, with total spending on significant others for the holiday expected to reach a record $14.2 billion, according to the annual Valentine's Day consumer spending survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. 

Overall, consumers plan to spend a total of $25.8 billion to celebrate the holiday, on par with last year's spending and the third highest in the survey's history. Sixty-two percent of consumers ages 25-34 plan to celebrate this year, more than any other age group.

[Read more: Candy Companies Gear Up for Sweetest Day of the Year]

"Retailers are ready to help customers this Valentine's Day with meaningful and memorable gifts," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "With consumers prioritizing their spouse or significant other this year, retailers expect to see a shift in spending for certain gifting categories."

Consumers expect to spend $185.81 each on average, nearly $8 more than the average Valentine's Day spending over the last five years. The top gifts include:

  • Candy (57%)
  • Greeting cards (40%)
  • Flowers (39%)
  • An evening out (32%)
  • Jewelry (22%)
  • Clothing (21%) 
  • Gift cards (19%)

New spending records are expected for jewelry ($6.4 billion), flowers ($2.6 billion), clothing ($3 billion) and an evening out ($4.9 billion).

Online continues to be the most popular destination to shop for Valentine's Day gifts at 40%, up from 35% in 2023. Consumers also plan to head to department stores (33%), discount stores (31%) and florists (17%).

"While shoppers may be spending the most on jewelry, overall, the most popular gifts are the classics — candy and greeting cards," Prosper Insights & Analytics Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. "We're also seeing continued interest in gifts of experience with about one-third of consumers planning to give a gift of experience this year."

Among those not celebrating Valentine's Day, 29% still plan to mark the occasion in some way. Many will treat themselves to something special, while others will plan a get-together or evening out with their single friends or family members, NRF and Prosper Analytics found.

The 2024 annual Valentine's Day survey from NRF and Prosper Analytics was conducted Jan. 2-8. The survey asked 8,329 adult consumers about their Valentine's Day shopping plans.

Prosper Insights & Analytics is a global leader in consumer intent data serving the financial services, marketing technology and retail industries.

NRF, headquartered in Washington, D.C., advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail succeed. 

Taking Part in the Tradition

A whopping 92% of Americans are embracing the sweet spirit of the Valentine's Day season, saying they plan to share chocolate and candy with friends, family and loved ones throughout the first half of February. 

[Read more: Global Chocolate Consumption Holds Steady]

The appeal of these treats remains strong as a symbol of affection, and the widespread enthusiasm for chocolate and candy underscores their role as a social currency that allows consumers to foster connections and create memorable moments, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) said.

"Valentine's Day is an opportunity for people across the country to make simple yet meaningful gestures by sharing chocolate and candy," commented John Downs, NCA president and CEO. "People see these treats as tokens of love and happiness, and gifting chocolate and candy is a sentimental tradition that brings a unique sweetness to this season."

Ninety-four percent of consumers said they would be excited to receive chocolate and candy for Valentine's Day, reflecting not only a preference for treats but a celebration of the emotional connections these treats bring.

For example, consumers planning to share conversation hearts with their loved ones like to convey a colorful spectrum of messages:

  • 52% opt for sweet and heartfelt messages 
  • 28% prefer a touch of humor 
  • 20% go for a hint of sarcasm 

When it comes to treats for their sweethearts, 60% of consumers say they favor classic heart-shaped chocolate boxes, while 40% prefer conversation hearts with quirky and endearing messages.

NCA's "Seasonal Survey" was conducted in July 2023 by 210 Analytics LLC using a self-administered, online questionnaire. A sample of 1,500 individuals were surveyed.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NCA is a leading trade organization for the U.S. confectionery industry, which generates $42 billion in retail sales each year.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds