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Valentine's Day spending, even on pets, expected to break records

Is cupid's arrow hitting your wallet?
Posted at 5:00 AM, Feb 14, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cupid's arrow is likely hitting your wallet this Valentine's Day.

The National Retail Federation estimates total spending around the holiday will reach $27.4 billion this year.

"Consumers say they're going to spend $196 on average. That's up over $35 from last year and is the highest we've seen in the more than ten years we've been doing this study," Katherine Cullen, the NRF's Director of Industry & Consumer Insights, said.

The record-setting amount stems from a few factors, including high consumer confidence, the strength of wages and low unemployment numbers.

"All of that creates an environment where consumers are willing to spend a little more on the people they care about," Cullen said.

To clarify- it's not just people.

"Your animals are always the ones you can do no wrong to most of the time, so they should be spoiled," Dan Snyder, who manages Three Dog Bakery on the Plaza, said.

The NRF's 2020 Valentine's Day spending survey estimates total spending on pets will hit $1.7 billion. That's up from $450 million in 2010.

Shoppers ages 18 to 54 plan to spend an average of more than $70 on their animal valentines.

"It's just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger," Snyder said of the spending around holidays.

According to Cullen, there are a couple other trends fueling spending this year.

Galentine's Day isn't just for women; men are also spending on gifts for friends.

In addition, consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 are increasingly buying gifts of experience.

"Instead of buying someone a bottle of perfume, there are companies that let you give the gift of a custom fragrance," Cullen said. "And there are meal kits where you can do your own date night but experiment with something you haven't done in the past."

Shoppers surveyed said they liked the unique, memorable aspects of experience-based gifts.