Photo by Jesse Goll on Unsplash.com
After a holiday season that grew 14.1 percent over 2020 to $886.7 billion, the U.S. retail sector is now looking toward a Valentine’s Day spending, which the National Retail Federation forecast will reach $23.9 billion this year, up from $21.8 billion in 2021.
According to a survey conducted by the NRF and and Prosper Insights & Analytics, Valentine’s Day 2022 is shaping up to bethe second-highest year on record.
“Following the historic level of consumer spending over the winter holidays, it appears that the trend will continue into 2022,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Valentine’s Day is a special occasion for many Americans, even more so as we navigate out of the pandemic, and retailers are prepared to help them mark the holiday in a memorable and meaningful way.”
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing the United State’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP.
The survey of 7,728 U.S. adult consumers has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.
22 PERCENT WILL OPT FOR JEWELRY
According to the survey, 53 percent of U.S. consumers plan to celebrate the holiday in 2022, up from 52 percent in 2021. Some 76 percent of those celebrating indicated it is important to do so given the current state of the COVID pandemic.
The survey furthermore suggested that shoppers expect to spend an average of $175.41 per person on Valentine’s Day gifts, up from $164.76 in 2021. The increase comes as many intend to spend more on significant others or spouses.
Candy, at 56 percent, greeting cards, at 40 percent, and flowers, at 37 percent, remain the most popular gift items this Valentine’s Day. Nearly a third of respondents plan to gift an “evening out” this year, up from 24 percent in 2021 and just slightly below pre-pandemic levels, for a total of $4.3 billion.
Some 22 percent of consumers will opt to gift jewelry to a special someone. Total spending on jewelry is estimated at $6.2 billion, up from $4.1 billion in 2021 and the highest in the survey’s history.
Demand for gifts of experience, such as tickets to a concert or sporting event, has also returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 41 percent saying they would “love to receive a gift of experience,” up from 36 percent last year.
“While traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like candy and flowers seem to never go out of style, gift givers and recipients alike are more comfortable heading out for a special meal or participating in a new experience than they were a year ago,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “This is especially true among younger age groups.”
Online continues to be the most popular shopping destination for Valentine’s Day this year, visited by 41 percent, followed by department stores at 32 percent, discount stores at 28 percent, local small businesses at 18 percent and florists at 17 percent.
MOMENTUM MAINTAINED FROM 2021
A strong Valentine’s Day will keep up the momentum built up at the end of 2021. Even though many consumers began shopping in October, it was the strongest November and December the NRF had on record.
Despite supply chain challenges, retailers kept their shelves stocked and consumers were able to fill their carts both in-store and online. Holiday spending during 2021 reflected the continued consumer demand that is driving the U.S. economy.
Both the amount spent and the growth rate during the 2021 holiday season were new highs, topping the previous records of $777.3 billion spent in 2020 and 8.2 percent growth that year.
NRF forecast in October that 2021 holiday sales would increase between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion, then said in December that growth could be as much as 11.5 percent. The 2021 growth compares with an average 4.4 percent holiday sales growth over the previous five years.