Love may be free, but Valentine's Day can sure get expensive.
An early forecast of how much Americans are expected to spend on their significant others this year predicts Valentine's Day spending will rise nearly 6 percent, to $18.6 billion. Retail consulting firm IBIS World, based in Los Angeles, predicts the strongest growth will be in jewelry and flowers, forecast to grow 11.3 and 16.8 percent each.
Holiday shopping in 2010 grew at a faster clip than had initially been predicted - more than 5 percent, according to consulting firm MasterCard Advisors. Analysts have wondered how much momentum the retail rebound actually has, after dismal holiday seasons in 2008 and 2009, and the Valentine's Day rush could be an important gauge of how much more consumers are really willing to spend this year.
Do you have any big Valentine's Day splurges planned for your love (don't worry, you can post anonymously and not spoil the surprise)? Listed below are the spending category predictions and year-over-year growth.
- Greeting cards: $823 million, + 4.9 percent
- Candy: $2.6 billion, + 5.1 percent
- Jewelry: $1.5 billion, + 11.3 percent
- Flowers: $1.6 billion, + 16.8 percent
- Dining out: $8.8 billion, + 3.8 percent
- Clothing/lingerie: $1.2 billion, + 3.4 percent
- Romantic getaways: $2.2 billion, + 5.7 percent