Valentines Day Spending Statistics, Trends, and Fun Facts (US & UK)

Valentine's day dates back to early Roman times and is believed to have originated as a way to honor a priest who defied the Roman law in the 3rd century and performed banned marriages for those in love. The celebration that occurs in February has gone through a cycle of changes from a pagan festival to a Christian feast and now to the day of love is celebrated throughout the world.

Not only is the day a popular time for romance but it also is one of the biggest days for spending in both the United States and the United Kingdom. With an estimated $19 billion being spent on Valentine's Day in the United States and an estimated 595 million pounds being spent in the U.K. it is no surprise that Valentine's Day is one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year.

What Percentage of People Participate in Valentine's Day?

In the U.S, an estimated 54% of Americans will participate in the rituals of Valentine's day and 1 in 3 adults in the U.K. Even those without significant others will still enjoy the holiday.

11.5%
will buy themselves something special for the holiday
15%
of women will send themselves flowers
9.8%
will spend the evening out with friends

What Demographics Are Most Likely to Buy for the Holiday?

While most age ranges and both genders participate in the Valentine's Day holiday the highest percentage of spending typically falls in the middle age category with men spending significantly more than women.

  • Married and domestic partners will spend the most with an average of 72% making purchases.
  • Divorces and single people will spend participate equally in spending with both coming in around 48%.
  • Widows account for the smallest group of spenders at 37%.
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    The highest age category of spenders is 25 to 34-year-olds who will spend an average of over $234 on the holiday.
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    The second highest spending age group was 35 to 44-year-olds with an average of $187 followed by 18 to 24-year-olds at $148.
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    The two age groups spending the least amount on average for Valentine's day is 55 to 64-year-olds and 65+ both around an average of $95.
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    On average men spend more than twice as much on gifts with an average of $75 or more on their presents while women spend $20 or more for their average.

Who Are People Buying For?

The holiday is geared for most people to make purchases for their significant other or their current love. Though even with the holiday being geared towards couples not all people receiving gifts are in a romantic relationship. The break down of who the population is buying for include:

  • 33.93% wives
  • 28.49% Husbands
  • 8.4% Boyfriends
  • 11.85% Girlfriends
  • 3.41% A Secret Lover
  • 10.96% Dogs
  • 6.49% Cats
  • 3.15% Friends
  • 31.57% Kids
  • 21.35% Family
  • 14.77% Themselves

What Are the Most Popular Buys for Valentine's Day?

While chocolates and flowers have always been time-honored traditions for purchases for Valentine's holiday, as the spending has increased so has the wide range of gifts given. Some of the most popular gifts buyers will choose for their holiday purchases include:

  • 24% of estimated spending will be on jewelry.
  • 19% of dollars spent on Valentine's Day will be on an evening out.
  • 10% of spending will go to a traditional flower purchase.
  • 9% of spending will be made toward candy purchases.
  • 20% of spending dollars will go toward clothing.
  • As with everyday holiday cards are one of the most popular purchases with 65% of people exchanging cards for the Valentine's holiday.

What do Women Most Want for Their Gifts?

On average women enjoy being spoiled on valentine's day by getting everything from flowers, to candy, to gifts cards. Women love knowing their significant other is thinking of them when the holiday rolls around. While many women are happy to receive gifts on Valentine's when asked in a U.K. survey many women were happy to relate what their perfect gift for Valentine's would be.

  • 27% wanted to go on holiday.
  • 17% said they wished they received a new car.
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    15% wanted to enjoy a spa day.
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    13% wanted to enjoy a new piece of jewelry.

Where do Buyers Perform Their Shopping?

When shopping for Valentine's Day, there is a wide range of stores that buyers frequent to make their purchases. While department stores top the list for places to buy your Valentine's gifts, online purchase numbers have been steadily increasing throughout the years. The top locations for making Valentine's purchases are:

  • 35% department stores
  • 31% discount stores
  • 28% online
  • 20% flower shop
  • 19% specialty store
  • 11% jewelry store
  • 8% specialty clothing store
  • 2% catalog
  • 9% other

Has Online Shopping Affected Buying Trends for Valentine's?

As online shopping in everything from grocery delivery, to toys, to electronics, has continued to grow and grab a hold for the buying market, it is no surprise to see much of the holiday spending crossing over to an online spending platform. Over half of those celebrating the holiday plan to use their mobile device either for research, comparison, or purchase of their Valentines gift.

With almost one-third of this shopping for a Valentine's gift online this year jumping up over 2% from the previous year the convenience of ordering online is proving to be a benefit to almost any holiday purchase. It is also estimated that those who do shop online are likely to spend up to 30% more on their purchase than those who will shop in a traditional store.

Fun Facts You May Not Know About Valentine's Day

While you think you may know everything there is to know about Valentine's Day check out these fun facts you might not have realized to prepare yourself for the next Valentine's Day holiday.

  • Almost $4 billion will be spent on dining out and going to the movies in celebration of valentines day.
  • 20% of people will buy something or treat their pet on Valentine's day.
  • Buyers spend an average of over $6 on teachers and classmates for the holiday.
  • $1.5 billion will be spent on Valentine's cards making it one of the top card giving holidays.
  • While the first exchanged Valentine's occurred during the 15th century, they weren't mass produced until the 1800's.
  • Companies manufacture more than 8 million conversation hearts each year to meet the demand for Valentine's Day.
  • The term "wearing your heart on your sleeve" came from the Middle Ages when couples would wear the name of their Valentine on a heart that would be attached to their sleeve.
  • Husbands and boyfriends are most likely to give bouquets
  • The most popular flower for Valentine's Day is roses as they were the goddess Venus's favorite flower.

In Conclusion

Valentine's Day continues to be a major shopping holiday and lucrative season for both online and traditional retailers accounting for almost $20 billion in sales by the time the season is done. While many buyers spend a significant amount of money on entertainment and evenings out, long-standing favorites such as flowers, candy, cards, and jewelry still are topping the charts when it comes to popular gift purchases.

While online sales for the holiday have not yet overtaken the highest position in spending dollars, it's steady increase year after year is making it a contender for the more traditional Valentine's day shopping venues. With the increasing availability of online offerings more and more shoppers may turn to online services to make their Valentines' purchases in the future.