QoD: How much does the average adult spend on Valentine's Day?

Feb 13, 2019
Budgeting, Behavioral Finance, Current Events

Answer: $162


  • What do you think are the most common items purchased on Valentine's Day?
    • Try and name 5 and estimate their cost. 
  • Are there Valentine's Day purchases that cost a lot more around the big day than they do the rest of the year? What economic principle explains that phenomenon? 
  • Why do you think that fewer people are spending on Valentine's Day compared to a decade ago? 
  • What are some low-cost ways to celebrate Valentine's Day without "breaking the bank?"

Here's the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the Numbers (National Retail Federation survey)

While more consumers say they are not officially “celebrating” on February 14, many will still mark the event in some way. In fact, a quarter who aren’t celebrating admit they still plan to treat themselves to something special, hold a get-together with other single friends or even purchase an “anti-Valentine’s Day” gift. These types of activities are even more popular among younger consumers — the same age groups who appear to be driving a decline in Valentine’s Day celebrations. More than a third of those under the age of 35 who say they are not “celebrating” still have plans to splurge on themselves or spend time with other single friends.

Even as fewer consumers have official Valentine’s Day plans, those who do celebrate are spending more than ever. Between 2009 and 2019, the average amount consumers planned to spend on Valentine’s Day gifts increased by $60. While gifts for a significant other are still an important part of the holiday, much of the increase is being driven by gifts for other loved ones. Today Valentine’s Day is about sharing the love with everyone — from gifts for friends and family to cards for co-workers and children’s classmates and, of course, special treats for pets.


Here's last year's QoD if you want to dive deeper into supply and demand: 

How much does the retail price for roses increase around Valentine's Day?



About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.