Cupid’s Arrow Hits the Mark for 6 million American Couples Expecting a Valentine’s Day Engagement NEW YORK, February 3, 2014 --
Americans aren’t shy about showing their love, and their spending will show it this Valentine’s Day, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Spending will reach $37 billion as more consumers (74% say they’ll participate vs. 69% in 2013) plan to spend on their special someone, dishing out $213 on average, down slightly from last year’s average of $239. For some Americans couples, the holiday will be extra special; of the 13 million (19%) who expect to be engaged by year end, half (6 million) will receive or plan their proposal on Valentine’s Day.
While more couples will make the effort to show their love on February 14, the pressure to have the perfect Valentine’s Day seems to be easing. Aside from those planning or receiving a proposal this holiday, more couples agree that it’s a fun holiday, but not a major occasion (35% vs. 30% in 2013), while fewer feel it’s an important day to celebrate their relationship with a significant other (32% vs. 38% in 2013).
“More Americans are marking the Valentine’s Day holiday with something special for their someone special,” said David Rabkin, SVP of Consumer Lending Products for American Express. “Valentine’s Day is still a major retail driver, and merchants will likely see a boost on spending for romantic items and experiences this year as consumers have more fun with their holiday plans.”
Hearts Flutter as Cash Registers Ring
Whether matched up or flying solo, Americans are celebrating this year, with 85% (vs. 86% in 2013) of couples and 45% (vs. 38% in 2013) of singles marking the holiday. Couples in particular are making plans to wine, dine and gift their loved ones:
% Who Plan to Spend
Purchase a gift
Go out to dinner
Prepare a special meal at home
Go out to the movies
Rent a movie
Visit a night club, drinks and/or dancing
Take in a show or concert
Visit friends at their home
Men plan to dish out more for their loved ones this holiday, spending more on average ($254 vs. $275 in 2013) then their female counterparts ($125 vs. $155 in 2013). While both will include a sentimental greeting card (57% vs. 55% for men and 59% for women in 2013), men will choose to purchase flowers (54% vs. 56% in 2013) and jewelry (24% vs. 25% in 2013), and women plan to snatch up gadgets (16%, on par with 2013) and gift cards (13%, on par with 2013).
To share that they care, Americans are shying away from technology and social media, and use of these platforms to share Valentine’s Day messages is down to 52% from 56% in 2013. Those who still send their love digitally will:
- Send a romantic text message (28 vs. 29% in 2013)
- Message or post on social media (27% vs. 29% in 2013)
- Send an email (22% vs. 21% in 2013)
- Send an eCard (16% vs. 20% in 2013)
Just Say Yes…
With the stage set, all eyes are on the bling and American couples cite $2,311 as the average appropriate price tag for an engagement ring, slightly lower than 2013’s average ($2,410). A quarter of couples (25% vs. 21% in 2013) believe the appropriate amount to spend on the engagement ring is between $2,000 and $4,999, but most (38% vs. 42% in 2013) are more conservative, citing less than $1,000. A few high rollers (16%, on par with 2013) put a price of $5,000 or more on their hardware.
As for the best setting to pop the question, men say they prefer a proposal while on vacation (31% vs. 25% in 2013), while women crave romantic ambiance at home (27% vs. 18% in 2013).
Chatting Money; Hiding Splurges
Money and finances continue to be important topics for couples, though the number of couples having financial conversations at least once a week is down slightly to 52% from 59% last year. In general, couples are waiting to initiate financial conversations until 6-12 months into a relationship (24% vs. 18% in 2013), compared to 2013 when most raised the subject within six months of meeting (44% vs. 36% in 2014).
Although they may talk finances regularly, some couples might hold out on their significant other this year. More women in particular admit to hiding purchases (40% vs. 27% in 2013), compared to just a third (33% vs. 39% in 2013) of men. The likely justification: a growing number of men report frivolous expenditures as their number one financial pet peeve (24% vs. 18% in 2103).
About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,504 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an Affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity, formerly Echo Research, between January 13 –14, 2014. The results reported in this release have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.5 (total) at the 95 percent level of confidence.
About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.
Ebiquity provides independent data-driven insights to global media, marketing and communications professionals to continuously improve clients' business performance. This includes specialized services in research supporting creative testing, brand/advertising tracking, corporate reputation, brand image, research for public relations and thought leadership, global media/social media content analysis, and communications research. Ebiquity acquired Echo Research in May, 2011 and Echo officially started conducting business under the Ebiquity name on July 1, 2013. Learn more at Ebiquity.com