February 2, 2011, 3:55 PM

Consumers will spend more for Valentine’s Day this year, and nearly a fifth will shop online

Jewelry sales will reach $3.5 billion, a National Retail Federation survey suggests.

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E-retailers are expected to benefit as Cupid aims his arrows for Valentine’s Day this year. According to a National Retail Federation survey of nearly 9,000 consumers, shoppers will spend an average of $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise, such as greeting cards, flowers and candy, this year, up 11% from $103.00 in 2010. 18.1% of consumers say they’ll include online retailers among the venues they’ll shop.

A separate survey of 1,200 online consumers from eBillme, an Internet payment service vendor, and conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, is more bullish about the web’s role in Valentine’s Day gift-shopping. It says 32% of consumers plan to do their Valentine’s Day shopping online, up from 23% last year.

Jewelry sales are expected to climb, as 17.3% of consumers say they’ll buy jewelry as a Valentine’s Day gift this year, up from 15.5% last year, according to the NRF survey. The NRF says consumer spending on jewelry is expected to reach $3.5 billion, up from $3.0 billion in 2010. Apparel sales also are expected to increase slightly.

“Having surpassed expectations during the holiday season, it seems consumers are not done spending on gifts,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “Jewelry, candy and apparel sales should provide a nice boost for retailers.”

Among the retailers revving up its Valentine’s Day promotions is department store chain Macy’s Inc.. The multichannel retailer is prominently displaying on its Macys.com home page a Valentine’s Day gift guide that suggests gifts for men and women and at particular price points. And a Macy’s promotion on Facebook lets consumers send free personalized Valentine’s Day e-cards to the special people in their lives. For every card sent, Macy’s is donating $1 to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women effort, which promotes women’s heart health. Macy’s is No. 20 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

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