The majority of consumers (64 percent) will be opening their wallets this Valentine's Day, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Couples will be spending three times more than singles do on a typical date ($189 versus $67), many (27 percent) of which will be most motivated by the opportunity to spark some romance. A cranky 12 percent feel spending on Valentine's Day is "a waste of money."
The latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker(1) explores consumers' spending and saving behaviors as it relates to Valentine's Day and dating in general. The research sample of 2,003 adults included the general U.S. population, as well as two subgroups - the affluent(2) and young professionals(3).
"Most people have strong opinions about Valentine's Day – it's a day you either love or hate," said Pamela Codispoti, executive vice present and general manager of Consumer Card Services, American Express. "However, our data shows that more people are planning to make the day special for their valentines, with gift cards and gadgets emerging as popular gifts."
Men Send Flowers, Women Give Nothing
Among those who are married or have significant others, the expectation that Valentine's Day is an opportunity for a man to spoil his beloved still rings true. Men plan to spend more than women ($151 vs. $114). Moreover, nearly half (49 percent) of the men plan to buy flowers for their significant other, while approximately half (48 percent) of the women have no gift-giving intentions at all.
Other popular gifts for men to give their significant others:
- Jewelry (17 percent)
- Gift card (12 percent)
- Lingerie/sleepwear (11 percent)
Among women who plan to celebrate Valentine's Day, gadgets (14 percent) and gift cards (13 percent) top their lists. A small percentage of men and women are splurging on unique celebrations, such as going to concerts or enjoying weekend getaways.
The Price of Finding Love
While 44 percent of respondents said how flush they feel determines how much they will spend this Valentine's Day, how much they like the person was a close second (39 percent). Length of the relationship is also an important factor (32 percent), and can dictate whether one spends at all. Most feel that dating an average of five months is suitable before exchanging Valentine's Day gifts.
When asked about spending on dating in general, singles reported spending $67 on average for a typical date. Unfortunately, nearly one-third (31 percent) reported that they always or sometimes experience buyer's remorse after a date and in fact, estimate that they have spent approximately $777 on bad dates in their lifetime. Men fare worse than women, estimating that they've spent $938 on bad dates in their lifetime, compared to just $475 for women.
Bad date or not, more than two thirds of singles (69 percent) seek ways to keep dating costs down. The top ways they do so are by:
- Eating dinner in (44 percent)
- Renting movies at home instead of going to the movies (35 percent)
- Using coupons/looking for discounts (28 percent)
- Using gift cards (19 percent)
- Going out earlier (i.e., early bird specials or lunch menu) (19 percent)
- Going out for drinks only (17 percent)
"For the budget conscious romantic, many companies offer great deals for Valentine's Day," said Codispoti. "For example, the Blue Savings Program from American Express offers 20 percent off at 1-800-Flowers.com and 1-800-Baskets.com, plus $10 off your next purchase – a great way to treat your date without overspending."
American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2,003 consumers aged 18+. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between January 14 and January 18, 2011. Overall, the results have a margin of error of +/- 2.2percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. For access to previous American Express Spending & Saving Tracker results, please visit americanexpress.com/aboutus.
About American Express
American Express Company (americanexpress.com) is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.
(2) Affluent - defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000.
(3) Young Professional - defined as less than 30 years of age, having a college degree, and a minimum annual household income of $50,000.