Photo: Screenshot/Sleepless In Seattle
Money can’t buy any of us love — or so the Beatles would argue — but every year, during the second week of February, Americans open their wallets and fork out money on their loved ones to celebrate Valentine’s Day.How much love are we trying to buy? According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2011 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $15.7 billion this year. The average person will fork out $116.21 on Valentine’s Day merchandise, an 11 per cent increase from last year’s $103.
Take me to the cities →
The survey also shows that the average man expects to spend $158.71 on V-Day, more than twice than the $75.79 the average woman expects to spend. This doesn’t mean men are more thoughtful than women — it’s just more likely that he’s being a gentleman and paying for dinner.
But not all Americans are into Valentine’s Day, and I’m not just talking about the argument that Feb. 14 is just a “Hallmark holiday” manufactured by retail merchants to encourage people to spend on gifts again just a month after Christmas (though, this is a point worth considering). Some of us see romance as a quiet night in — no greeting cards, or roses necessary.
And then there are those of us who show love and romance in the form of candy, flowers, jewelry and dinner reservations. Bundle set out to determine exactly who these people are, and how much more they’re willing to spend on these four categories for Valentine’s Day by looking at the biggest 100 cities in the U.S.
Rather than just look at last year’s Valentine’s Day spending in dollar amounts (obviously, some people have more discretionary income than others), we looked at the percentage of how much more (or less) residents of the biggest cities in the U.S. spent on flowers, candy, jewelry and restaurants during the week of Valentine’s Day, compared to the preceding three weeks. We also looked at the number of marriages per 1,000 population in the 50 states.
According to our data, the average U.S. household spent 206 per cent more at florists during the week of Valentine’s Day last year, than it did in the three weeks prior to Feb. 14. Average households also spent 144 per cent more on candy, 49 per cent more on jewelry, and 21 per cent more at restaurants. Apparently, we like to say it with flowers, and our kisses begin with Kay.
And, guess what? Virginia really is for lovers. Three Virginia cities — Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach — took the top three slots in our rankings for most romantic cities. Chesapeake, for example, spent 574 per cent more at florists during the week of Feb. 14, the biggest percentage increase in this category out of all the cities we looked at.
There were also some surprises: Reno ranked 6th on our list, spending 315 per cent more on jewelry during Valentine’s Day week, and 289 per cent more at florists. Detroit, a city that usually ranks towards the bottom for spending, was ranked third for biggest percentage increase on spending on flowers after Boise and Chesapeake. In addition, big cities like Los Angeles (No. 87 in our rankings), Dallas (No. 95) and New York (No. 100) saw minor increases in spending in the four categories we looked at, and thus, were considered less romantic cities.
The good news is that people don’t need gifts to feel loved. A recent poll by iVillage.com showed that 87 per cent of women say the present they want the most this year is a simple, “I love you.”
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