BBI Analysis of the NRF’s 2022 Valentine’s Consumer Trends

Love is free, but Valentine’s Day isn’t. Check out BBI’s analysis of the NRF’s 2022 Valentine’s Day consumers trends.

They say love is priceless—while that may be true, the objects that contribute to our love sure aren’t. According to projections from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual survey, Valentine's Day spending will exceed $23.9 billion this year, increasing from the $21.8 billion in 2021 and the second-highest on record (the highest year being 2020 at $24.7 billion).

The NRF surveyed 7,728 U.S. adult consumers from January 3rd to 11th. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 1.1 percentage points. Results show that despite a pandemic that has shaken the economy and wiped out millions of jobs, consumers are not cutting back much on their celebrations for their loved ones. And their loved ones do not just include their significant others.

Colorful candy confetti sprinkled on a pink, heart-shaped lollipop.

Valentine’s Day Consumer Trends

What’s better than indulging in a box of chocolates, surprising your special someone with a bouquet of roses, or showing off your love with a bit of bling? Unlike last year, when holiday spending took a pandemic-induced dip, shoppers aren’t putting Valentine’s Day on the back-burner.

How Much Do People Spend on Valentine’s Day?

In 2022, American consumers intend to spend $175.41 on Valentine's Day gifts, up from $164.76 in 2021. However, both of these amounts were down from $196.31 per person in 2020.

Why has this number gone up from 2021?

More than half of U.S. consumers plan to celebrate Valentine's Day this year. Of those celebrating, 76% expressed the importance of this holiday in light of the pandemic.

How Are People Spending Their Money This Valentine’s Day?

Traditional Valentine's Day gifts such as chocolate and flowers are still popular with consumers, but now people are more likely to go out on the town for a special meal, go to a movie theater, or try something new than they were a year ago.

Candy remains the most popular Valentine’s Day gift with 56% of the people surveyed choosing to present their loved ones with candy. This is followed by greeting cards (40%) and flowers (37%) as the second and third most popular gift items. 

A man hiding roses behind his back surprises his Valentine’s Day date.

Jewelry a Driving Force of Love

According to the NRF’s annual survey, twenty-two percent of respondents plan to gift jewelry this year, raising the total amount spent on jewelry to $6.2 billion, up from $4.1 billion in 2021, marking the highest amount spent on jewelry in survey history.

There is also expected to be a rise in interest in experiential gifts, with 41 percent of respondents saying they would "love to receive a gift experience."—up from 36 percent last year.

Going Out Finally Means Getting Out

Although the omicron variant continues to affect consumers, they are much more comfortable going out now than they were a year ago. That’s evident in their Valentine’s Day plans.

In fact, thirty-one percent of the survey participants plan to celebrate the occasion with an evening out, as opposed to just 24 percent last year. 

As mentioned above, experiential gifts—such as tickets to a concert, getting pampered with a spa day, or thrills like sky diving for the more adventurous—are also getting more attention this year. As expected, these trends are being driven by younger consumers.

Valentine’s Day Google Searches Up 300%

While Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate all forms of love, romantic relationships are a priority for many consumers this year. Google Search data shows searches for "Valentine's Day gifts for her" were up 300 percent over last year, and searches for "best Valentine's Day gifts for him" were up 200 percent.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Valentine’s Day

Not only has the Coronavirus pandemic affected Americans' celebration decisions, but it has also affected the way they shop. Valentine's Day shoppers have been turning to online shopping in increasing numbers. In 2021, 38 percent of Americans bought their Valentine's gifts online, up from 32 percent in 2020. In 2022, the NRF expects 41 percent of individuals to shop online for Valentine's Day gifts, followed by 32 percent shopping at department stores, 28 percent at discount stores, and 17 percent at flower shops.

A cup with heart designs is next to a person using a laptop covered in heart confetti.

The economic downturn inspired Americans to support their local businesses more than ever in 2021, as small businesses appeared on the top five shopping destinations list. In 2022, small businesses are expected to surpass florists for the fourth-most popular destination for Valentine's Day shopping, with 18 percent of shoppers expected to go to small businesses for V-Day trinkets.

Inflation is Raising the Price of Valentine's Day

The cost of a romantic dinner is set to rise again this year due to inflation, making the holiday of love more expensive. Prices for roses have increased 54 percent from last year, as well as 23 percent since the 2020 Valentine's Day, the one before the onset of the pandemic. Also, decorating your house with candles will cost more as candle prices have risen about 3 percent. This is on par with prices in 2020.

Buying chocolate will also cost you more because the price of chocolate and confectionery products has gone up by 5 percent. Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but they're going to be your worst enemy this year. Diamond prices have spiked by 15 percent per carat weight, with an average of $12,048.

For more information on what is driving consumer trends this Valentine’s Day, check out the NRF’s full report by clicking here.

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