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Shoppers to spend big this Valentine’s Day

Survey estimates average person will spend more on gifts this year

Gulf News

Dubai: Consumers, even budget-conscious ones, will dig deep into their pockets to profess their love this Valentine’s Day.

The latest survey by BIGInsight for the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the US shows the average person will spend $130.97 (Dh481) on candy, cards and gifts, up from last year’s $126.03. Total spending is estimated to reach $18.6 billion during this period.

More than half (51 per cent) will spend $1.6 billion on candy, 36.6 per cent will set aside $1.9 billion for flowers and 19.7 per cent will splurge $4.4 billion on diamonds, gold and silver. An additional 15.6 per cent will buy clothing, spending more than $1.6 billion. About 15 per cent intend to buy gift cards, spending $1.5 billion.

The NRF says that “price and value” will be on top of consumers’ minds and many of them will compare prices before parting with their cash on Valentine’s Day. “Although consumers will be conscientious with their spending, it’s great to see that millions of Americans are still looking forward to celebrating with their loved ones,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release.

More people (26.3 per cent) will be buying gifts online this year compared to last year’s 19.3 per cent, while a significant portion — 39.6 per cent — will search for the perfect present at discount stores.

Where to shop

Another 33.2 per cent will shop at department stores, while 22.9 per cent will prefer specialty stores, floral shops (19.6 per cent), jewellery stores (11.2 per cent), specialty clothing stores (7.5 per cent) and through catalogues (2.6 per cent).

There are no specific forecasts for the UAE market, but analysts expect a similar trend.

“Due to the unique demographic make-up of the population in the UAE, with more than 70 per cent of the population being expatriates, Valentine’s Day tends to have a large target consumer group, with cards and gifts being made available and marketed for this occasion in stores and also restaurants setting up special decors in order to attract more consumers on the day,” says Sana Toukan, research manager, Middle East at Euromonitor International.

Special occasions are popular among the young who tend to celebrate Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve “much more vivaciously than those of older generations,” Toukan added.