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Valentine’s Day not as sweet for Florida retailers; spending expected to decrease

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Valentine’s Day spending is expected to be a little less sweet this year, dipping for the first time in a decade, according to an annual consumer survey.

Consumers plan to keep their budgets in check as they spend $10 less on gifts. Also, fewer people say they will celebrate the holiday this year.

“The slight decrease in spending is understandable given the record-breaking pace Valentine’s Day spending had reached the previous ten years,” said Randy Miller, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, the trade association that represents retailers. “This day is still expected to mean significant revenues for Florida’s retailers as consumers shower their loved ones with gifts, flowers, candy, tickets to events and dinners at local restaurants.”

The average consumer will spend $136.57 on gifts, down from last year’s record high of $146.84 but total spending nationally is still expected to reach a robust $18.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation‘s annual survey.

Back in 2007, consumers spent an average $119.67 for a total of $16.9 billion. Valentine’s spending grew most years over the past decade before hitting last year’s record. But the number of people surveyed who plan to celebrate the holiday has dropped from 63 percent in 2007 to 54 percent this year.

The most popular gifts are candy, cards, an evening out and flowers, in that order. Consumers plan to spend $4.3 billion on jewelry, $3.8 billion on an evening out, $2 billion on flowers, $1.9 billion on clothing, $1.7 billion on candy, $1.4 billion on gift cards/gift certificates and $1 billion on greeting cards.

Also popular this year are “gifts of experience” such as tickets to a concert or sporting event, a gym membership or an outdoor adventure. While 40 percent of consumers want an experience gift, only 24 percent plan to give one.

This year’s survey found consumers plan to spend an average $85.21 on their significant other/spouse, $26.59 on other family members such as children or parents, $6.56 on children’s classmates and teachers, $6.51 on friends, $4.27 on co-workers and $4.44 on pets.

The survey, which asked 7,591 consumers about their Valentine’s Day plans, was conducted January 4-11.

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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