According to a survey of OpenTable reservation users, 36% of diners said they plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Friday or Saturday.
Break out the boxes of chocolates and bouquets of roses; the obligatory celebration of Valentine’s Day is upon us again.
The holiday’s origin may not be quite as Hallmark-y as Cupid and his arrows (there was a beheading involved), but the modern celebration of love has evolved into one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year.
The one thing in common with everyone’s celebration: spending money. Lots of it. The estimated total amount that people will spend on loved ones this year stands at $18.6 billion, with the average person spending $130.97, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Dinner reservations at the city’s best restaurant, new jewelry, tickets to sports events; the amount of money people dedicate to celebrating Valentine’s Day can add up quickly. When it comes to gift prices, men are likely to spend twice as much as women are, with the average total amount spent by men at $175 and the average total amount spent by women at $88, according to the NRF.
Love it or hate it, the holiday is big business for the retail industry. Florists, bakeries and jewelers produce some of their highest numbers of the year thanks to love-struck consumers.
“We get a month’s worth of business over the course of one day,” said Cathleen Blagay, manager at Thornebrook Chocolates in Gainesville, Fla. “Our most popular item is still chocolate-covered strawberries, but we also tailor our selection to include specialty items that aren’t available during the rest of the year.”
Blagay said customers are becoming more adventurous in their gift selections, with spicy choices such as chipotle-flavored assorted nuts or a wine bottle dipped in chocolate.
“We always listen to the customer and see what food trends are popular at the time; the more we listen, the better our sales,” Blagay said.
Candy, flowers and jewelry still rank as the top gift choices for Valentine’s Day, but new surveys show a shift in gift-buying trends that complement college student’s budgets.
More than a third of young adults will turn to e-cards rather than traditional cards to send a love note, according to mobile-testing company Soasta. Free to send and often touting a witty message or riff-off of a popular meme, e-cards are the card of choice for college students looking to cut gift costs.
Diners are also saving money (and avoiding crowds) by opting out of prix-fixe holiday menus and choosing to eat out at restaurants the weekend after Valentine’s Day rather than the actual holiday. In a survey of OpenTable reservation users, 36% of diners said they plan to celebrate the holiday on Friday or Saturday.
For those who would rather show their love through handmade gifts, some food trends making an appearance on wish lists include chocolate-bacon cookies, Sriracha-laced desserts and Valentine-themed craft beer, based on Google search statistics.
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