Study: $12.79B Will Be Spent for St. Valentine's Day

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The average consumer will spend $99.24 on St. Valentine's Day this year, up from $80.44 in 2003, according to a new study conducted by Bigresearch for the National Retail Federation.

Online and offline spending for that occasion will reach $12.79 billion this year, the NRF said.

"Valentine's day has become a very big business for retailers in what is traditionally one of the slowest shopping months of the year," NRF president/CEO Tracy Mullin said in a statement.

Young adults will lead the spending, with an average 18- to 24-year-old aiming to spend $154.65. Those ages 25-34 plan to spend $78.30.

The study, polling 8,683 consumers Jan. 8-14, found 59.8 percent of U.S. consumers will celebrate valentine's day this year. Of those surveyed, 69.1 percent intend to buy gifts for children and parents, though nine of 10 will buy for their spouses or significant others. Also, one in four plans to buy gifts for friends and children's classmates or teachers.

The survey found 73.3 percent will buy a greeting card and 53.2 percent candy. Of those buying flowers as gifts, 64.9 percent of men nodded to that choice compared with only 16.2 percent of women. And 44.4 percent of surveyed couples will go out on St. Valentine's evening.

Sales performance on this holiday speaks for its appeal. More cut flowers are sold for St. Valentine's Day than any other holiday, according to the Society of American Florists. The Greeting Card Association reports it is the second-most-popular card-sending holiday.

Nor is chocolate overlooked. The National Confectioners Association claims St. Valentine's Day is fourth in candy sales after Halloween, Easter and the Thanksgiving-to-New Year's holidays. More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will sell this year for valentine's day, according to the Chocolate Manufacturers Association.

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