By Courtney Bosquez, Texas A&M University Mays Business School
Despite the explosion of red and pink merchandise currently promoted in stores, the National Retail Federation reports U.S. consumer spending will be down 10 percent this year compared to Valentine’s Day 2016. This may be a natural correction after an almost steady increase since 2010, says Kelli Hollinger, director of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School Center for Retailing Studies (CRS). Like Christmas spending, a bigger portion of purchases will be made online or via mobile devices, she notes.
“For some people, showing appreciation to others is daunting because it’s not their style or they fear rejection. Valentine’s Day provides a structured occasion to express affection,” says Hollinger. “Even if critics say Valentine’s Day is a marketing gimmick, gifts exchanged between friends, family, lovers or kids demonstrate gratitude or warm feelings for people who are special in your life. Meaningful relationships take nurturing, so don’t feel guilty about spreading kindness to those you love.”
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
According to Microsoft search engine, Bing, about half of all Americans plan to celebrate their beloved, plunking down an average of $146.84 (versus $136.57 last year), making Valentine’s Day the fourth largest annual spending holiday. Combining top category sellers like candy, greeting cards, an evening out, floral arrangements and jewelry, total purchases are expected to reach $18.2 billion.
Not surprisingly, men spend more than ladies.
For those who consider themselves single or without a partner, “romantic love” is only one of many different themes that will influence their purchases. Many singles opt to spend time with friends or family, or treat themselves to a bit of pampering.
The College of Engineering has entered the top 10 for the first time, while the Law School, College of Education and Bush School also are among those rising in the 2023 edition of the national rankings.