Valentine Shoppers to Spend More on Jewelry Than Any Other Category, Reports NRF

February 1, 2021

For the fifth year in a row, Valentine shoppers will be spending more on jewelry than any other category, according to a survey just released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The NRF is estimating that jewelry gifts will account for $4.1 billion, or 18.8% of the overall Valentine's Day spending total of $21.8 billion. Both spending figures for 2021 are a bit higher than the very strong totals achieved in 2019, but significantly down from 2020's record highs.

For example, jewelry spending was $5.8 billion in 2020, which represented a huge 48% gain over 2019's total of $3.9 billion. Overall spending was $27.4 billion in 2020, up 32% from $20.7 billion, which had been a record in 2019.

Pandemic-related shopping and gathering restrictions have negatively affected just about all the gift categories in the NRF survey, but the one most affected is "evening out." That category accounted for $4.3 billion in spending in 2020, but is expected to generate only $2.7 billion in 2021.

Even still, 41% of respondents told the NRF that they will plan a special dinner or celebration in the comfort of their own home.

“There is no question the pandemic has disrupted many aspects of Americans’ daily interactions and activities,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “However, there remains a special significance around Valentine’s Day, and consumers are committed to celebrating with friends and loved ones, even if that means having to alter those traditional holiday celebrations.”

Fifty-two percent of consumers will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2021, a slight decrease from the 55% who celebrated in 2020.

According to the NRF, 73% of consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day this year feel it is important to do so given the current state of the pandemic. It is clear the virus is still front and center, with 74% indicating it will directly impact their plans for the holiday.

The average gift-giving Cupid in 2021 has a budget of $164.76, down $32 from 2020's record of $196.31. Spending this year is slightly higher than the $161.96 recorded in 2019. This year, men will outspend women $231 to $101.

As noted earlier, jewelry dominates all categories. Shoppers plan to spend $4.1 billion on jewelry (given by 18%), $2.7 billion on an evening out (24%), $2.7 billion on clothing (19%), $2.1 billion on gift cards (20%), $2.0 billion on candy (54%), $2.0 billion on flowers (36%) and $1.1 billion on greeting cards (44%).

The NRF’s 2021 Valentine’s Day spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The survey was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The poll of 7,882 consumers took place from January 4-12, 2021, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

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