February 4, 2014, 3:16 PM

Valentine’s Day may lack some e-commerce flash this year

The percentage of consumers who plan to shop online for gifts this year falls slightly, the National Retail Federation says.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

This year’s Valentine’s Day could turn out to be more ‘meh’ than marvelous for e-retailers and maybe even the lovers, spouses and flames hoping for something to top last year’s event.

That’s because the National Retail Federation, in new survey results released today, anticipates that the average consumer in the United States will spend $133.91 on gifts designed to express affection or, perhaps, assuage guilt and correct the mistakes that lovers so often commit. That’s up only 2.2% from last year, the trade group says. 

E-retailers hoping for a flood of new shoppers might end up a feeling a bit let down as well. 26.1% of consumers plan to head online to find gifts for the Feb. 14 pseudo-holiday, slightly less than 26.3% in 2012.

The National Retail Federation expects total U.S. retail spending on Valentine’s Day to hit $17.3 billion, with 54% of consumers planning to “celebrate with their loved ones” this year, down from 60% last year. The trade group bases its findings on a survey of 6,417 consumers aged 18 and over that was conducted between Jan. 2 and Jan. 13.

Valentine’s Day will continue to be a popular gift-giving event, even when consumers are frugal with their budgets. This is the one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers can expect Cupid’s holiday to resemble the promotional holiday season we saw just a few months ago, as retailers recognize that their customers are still looking for the biggest bang for their buck.”

The survey results also found that:

• 68.6% of respondents own smartphones and 46.4% own tablets. 21.5% own neither device.

• Of those respondents who own smartphones, 24% of those consumers will use the devices to research products and compare prices; 12.8% to buy products; 11.9% to redeem coupons; and 15.5% to find such information as store locations and hours. 59.9% of respondents, meanwhile, say they will do no shopping on their smartphones.

• Of those respondents who own tablets, 32.2% of those consumers will use the devices to research products and compare prices; 20.2% to buy products; 12.0% to redeem coupons; and 18.3% to find such information as store locations and hours. 52.8% plan no shopping on their tablets.

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