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Cupid Goes Head to Head With Economy This Valentine’s Day

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For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202)783-7971

Cupid Goes Head to Head With Economy This Valentine’s Day
-Average Spending Decreases $20 as Consumers Buy Less for Each Other-

Washington, January 29, 2009 – There’s one thing that love may not conquer this year: the economy. The National Retail Federation’s 2009 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, found that consumers plan to spend an average $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise, down from last year’s $122.98 per person.  Total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion.*

When it comes to spending, most people will still buy traditional favorites even though they plan to spend less. Over one-third (35.7%) of people will buy flowers, nearly the same as last year’s 35.9 percent, and 16.0 percent will buy jewelry, compared to 16.6 percent in 2008. In addition, more people this year will send greeting cards than they did last year (58.0% vs. 56.8% in 2008). Others will head to their favorite restaurant (47.0%), purchase clothing (10.2%) or a gift card/gift certificate (11.0%). 

“A bad economy won’t stop Cupid this Valentine’s Day, but it might slow him down,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “This year more than ever, consumers will look for creative and inexpensive ways to show those they love how much they mean to them.” 

The majority of people (90.8%) will spend the most on their spouse ($67.22), with other family members such as children getting about one-fifth of their budget ($20.95). Consumers will also spend on friends ($4.74), children’s classmates/teachers ($3.59), co-workers ($1.94) and pets ($2.17). 

“While some Americans will forego a gift and opt for quality time at home instead, others will simply set budgets and fixed amounts when exchanging presents,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at BIGresearch. “Valentine’s Day this year will be more about small tokens of affection rather than extravagant purchases.” 

The 35-44 year old age group will spend the most this year with the average person planning to shell out $119.19. Young adults 18-24 will be the second biggest spenders at an average of $113.68 per person, followed by 45-54 year olds ($108.82), 25-34 year olds ($105.59), and 55-64 year olds ($83.76). 

About the Survey

The NRF 2009 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine's Day. The poll of 8,850 consumers was conducted from January 1-8, 2009. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 8,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2008 sales of $4.6 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. www.nrf.com.   


* Total extrapolation of U.S. adults 18+