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WASHINGTON -- From candy and cards to dinner and diamonds, consumers will be opening their wallets to shower their sweeties with special gifts this Feb. 14. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2006 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch for NRF, the average consumer will spend $100.89 on Valentine's Day, up slightly from $97.27 last year. With 60.9 percent of consumers planning to celebrate the holiday, total 2006 Valentine's Day spending is expected to reach $13.70 billion, an increase from $13.19 billion in 2005.
Men will be the biggest spenders this Valentine's Day, according to the survey, with the average male spending $135.67, almost double the $68.64 that the average female will spend. When it comes to picking out that perfect gift, fewer men will be buying flowers (52.3 percent vs. 57.8 percent in 2005), and more will be purchasing jewelry for that special someone (22.4 percent vs. 18.1 percent in 2005).
Greeting cards once again remain a holiday favorite for both sexes. According to the survey, 62.0 percent of consumers plan to purchase at least one card for the holiday. Close to half of consumers will celebrate by buying candy (47.1 percent) or enjoying an evening out with their sweetheart (42.1 percent). Other popular gifts include flowers (32.9 percent), jewelry (14.6 percent), and gift cards/gift certificates (10.9 percent).
"When it comes to shopping for their special someone on Valentine's Day, consumers turn to more sentimental gifts," said Tracy Mullin, NRF president and c.e.o., in a statement. "Retailers know that traditional Valentine's gifts, including candy, cards, jewelry, and flowers will remain holiday favorites and they stock their shelves accordingly."
This year consumers will dedicate the bulk of their Valentine's Day budget to buying for their sweetheart, with the average person planning to spend $64.63 on their significant other or spouse. Consumers also plan to spend $20.74 on other family members, $5.06 on friends, $3.52 on children's classmates and teachers, and $2.56 on co-workers. An additional $4.38 will be spent on other people, such as neighbors and babysitters.
The NRF 2006 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey is based on a poll of 6,618 consumers conducted from Jan. 1-11. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.