Valentine’s Day Spending is Up

Valentine’s Day could be coming at a hefty price tag for some this year.

Of U.S. adults in relationships, 70% plan to spend money on their partner this Valentine’s Day, with the average amount being $152, according to Bankrate’s 2020 Valentine’s Day survey. For Millennials, the number jumps to $208—compared to $160 for Gen X, $101 for Boomers, and $43 for the Silent Generation.

Millennials also expect their partner to spend on them, believing their significant other will spend on average of $153, compared to an average of $102 for the typical adult—including gifts, dining, and entertainment.

Spending that much money may not be too hard as Valentine’s dinner will cost more this year, reported The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 14). Restaurant prices climbed 3.1% in January from a year earlier, matching the fastest annual increase since 2009 and outpacing a 0.7% increase for dining at home and a 2.5% advance in overall prices for the same period, according to Labor Department data.

Food industry analysts and restaurant executives cite the tight labor market as a key factor behind the increase in prices and, in turn, restaurants are raising wages (and then prices) to attract employees.

Although Valentine’s Day means more reservations, Feb. 14 is not an especially good day for most independent restaurants across the U.S., reported Crain’s New York (Feb. 13). In 2019, the holiday fell on a Thursday and ranked 94th in the year for consumer spending at local places nationwide, according to Brad Plothow, VP for marketing and communication at Womply.

Still, Valentine’s Day is not a money-loser for restaurants. In general, it means a 30%-40% revenue increase from what would be a typical day. However, a regular Saturday night is invariably better for restaurants than a nonweekend Valentine’s Day. With the holiday falling on a Friday this year, perhaps numbers will be better than 2019.

Some restaurants, such as Olive Garden, are getting creative with their themed offerings. The Italian chain created printable bouquet wrapping paper so consumers can make their very own breadstick bouquets, reported Delish (Feb. 4).

Meanwhile, Tyson is hosting a chicken-nugget bouquet competition, reported Insider (Feb. 11). The winner of the contest will receive $10,000 that can be used to fund a getaway for two, plus a full year’s supply of chicken nuggets.

Other innovative treats include ghost pepper chocolate-covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements, and—if chocolate is not your thing—a heart-shaped box of Fireball shooters.

If you are part of the 87% across the country planning to celebrate by sharing a gift of chocolate or candy, it appears caramel and nuts are the most sought-after filling, according to the National Confectioners Association.