Valentine’s Day spending is expected to increase this year as millennials and younger celebrants treat themselves and their pets more than any other generation.
U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of about $143 this year on Valentine’s Day gifts, according to an annual survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics.
Total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year, according to the survey. The numbers are the second highest in the survey’s 15-year history.
Millennials and Generation Z consumers will contribute to the splurge, but where they will be spending is a lot different than older generations.
This year, a quarter of those under 35 years old plan to buy gifts for their pets for Valentine’s Day, according to the survey. The Humane Society of Ocean City is raising money for its shelters through BE MINE Valentines that will be sold during regular hours at their shelter and veterinary center at 1 Shelter Road.
Among consumers ages 18 to 24, 69 percent plan to give candy, compared with 55 percent of consumers overall.
Many younger consumers will treat themselves instead of others. For 18- to 24-year-olds who said they would not be celebrating the holiday, half still planned to indulge in some self-care and treat themselves to a gift or go out with friends, according to the survey.
Consumers will spend the most on significant spouses ($89 average), family members ($25) and children’s classmates and teachers ($7).
The most common gifts will be candy (55 percent), greeting cards (46 percent), flowers (35 percent) and an evening out (35 percent).