National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

NRF forecasts dip in Valentine's Day sales


Washington--With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, the latest research from the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows that there will be a little less love for jewelers this year.

Despite the shaky economy, consumers will continue buying gifts that are traditional favorites, including jewelry, but they will spend less this year, according to the NRF's 2009 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by Big Research. The study found that consumers plan to spend an average of $102.50 on Valentine's gifts and merchandise, down from last year's $122.98 per person.

"A bad economy won't stop Cupid this Valentine's Day, but it might slow him down," NRF President and Chief Executive Officer Tracy Mullin said in a media release issued on Thursday.

And jewelry sales are expected to fall slightly from the 16.6 percent who purchased jewelry for the 2008 holiday to 16 percent who will buy jewelry for Valentine's Day 2009.

Meanwhile, about the same number of consumers are expected to buy flowers (35.7 percent versus 35.9 percent in 2008), while the number of consumers sending greeting cards will increase (58 percent versus 56.8 percent in 2008).

It is important to remember, however, that there will still be consumers purchasing gifts this season and to focus on that demographic.

"While some Americans will forego a gift and opt for quality time at home instead, others will simply set budgets and fixed amounts when exchanging presents," Phil Rist, executive vice president, strategic initiatives at Big Research, said in a media release.

According to the survey results, the majority of those surveyed (90.8 percent) will spend the most on their spouse ($67.22), with other family members getting about one-fifth of their budget ($20.95). Smaller amounts will be spent on children, teachers, co-workers and pets.

Those between the ages of 35 and 44 are expected to shell out the most: $119.19. Young adults 18-24 will follow next, spending an average of $113.68 per person, followed by 45-54 year olds ($108.82), 25-34 year olds ($105.59) and 55-64 year olds ($83.76).

The 2009 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was conducted Jan. 1 through Jan. 8, 2009, and included a poll of 8,850 consumers.