Fifty two per cent of US adults plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, spending a total of $21.8 billion, says an annual survey released recently by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. “There is no question the pandemic has disrupted many aspects of Americans’ daily interactions and activities,” said NRF president Matthew Shay.

“However, there remains a special significance around Valentine’s Day, and consumers are committed to celebrating friends and loved ones, even if that means having to alter those traditional holiday celebrations,” he said in a statement.

Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day this year feel it is important to do so given the current state of the pandemic. It is clear the virus is still front and centre, with 74 per cent indicating it will directly impact their plans for the holiday.

Those celebrating can still expect the classic candy, cards and flowers, but there is a significant decline in the number of consumers who will plan for an evening out. Less than a quarter (24 per cent) of consumers plan to gift their loved one with an evening out, the lowest in the survey’s history. Even still, 41 per cent say they will plan a special dinner or celebration in the comfort of their own home.

Because of these altered plans, it is no surprise that spending on Valentine’s Day gifts this year has dropped. Those celebrating plan to spend an average $164.76, down $32 on average per person, from a record $196.31 in 2020 right before the pandemic hit.

This year, online is the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, visited by 39 per cent, followed by department stores (29 per cent), discount stores (28 per cent) and local small businesses and specialty stores tied (17 per cent). This year is the first time consumers listed small businesses as a top five shopping destination since the question was added to the survey in 2015.

The survey of 7,882 adult consumers was conducted between January 4 and 12.