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Cupid generates $17.6B in Valentine’s Day sales

Valentine's Day sales are brisk this year, despite the economic challenges.

If the empty shelves and aisles at several local retail establishments is any indication, Puerto Rican consumers may be spending the same, if not more, than what they did last year to shower their loved ones with candy, flowers and jewelry this Valentine’s Day.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average person celebrating today’s holiday will shell out $126.03, up 8.5 percent over last year’s $116.21 and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Total Valentine’s Day-related spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.

“As one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication our economy continues to move in the right direction,” said NRF President Matthew Shay. “Anticipating high foot traffic…retailers have replenished their inventories and will entice eager shoppers with great deals on everything from special menu items at restaurants to clothing to flowers and, of course, chocolates.”

News is my Business conducted an informal late-night review of several retailers Monday, including Walgreens and Wal-Mart, where frenzied shoppers of all ages were snapping up the proverbial heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, “I love you” balloons and flowers, among other red-and-pink staple items in stock on Valentine’s Day eve. Malls were also busy, as brisk sales were reported at the chocolate, lingerie and jewelry shops.

The NRF’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGinsight, reflected consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day, polling 9,317 consumers from January 4-11, 2012.

The survey showed that couples and men are spending the most on their gifts. While children, parents and other family members are also on the list, curiously, the survey showed that Valentine’s Day is also “a great day for pet owners to show their furry friends just how much they mean: the average person will spend about $4.52 on their pets.”

Restaurants are crossing their fingers that Cupid will shower them with customers tonight.

A candle-lit dinner is likely to wrap up today’s Valentine’s Day celebration, as the survey showed that 35.6 percent will treat someone to a nice evening out.

Love means not breaking the bank
Despite the flurry of activity, there are still consumers who are keeping tabs on their wallets, and have planned their celebration ahead of time to avoid breaking the bank.

Last week, Visa International offered up a number of tips to help consumers budget this year’s Valentine’s Day spending that included looking out for budget-friendly promotions and special offers.

In Puerto Rico, Visa offers a special dining program at 25 of the island’s top restaurants, where cardholders can enjoy a buy-one-get-one-free dessert or drink when paying with their Visa-branded card.

Cupid went techno
After honing their mobile and tablet shopping skills during the 2011 holiday season, Valentine’s Day revelers turned to their smartphones and tablets once again to research and purchase gifts, the NRF said.

According to the trade group’s survey, more than half of all tablet owners (53.8 percent) will use their device to research products, compare prices, redeem coupons, look up retailer information or purchase products. Four in 10 (40.4 percent) smartphone owners will use their mobile device to do the same.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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