Despite a softer economy than in the past, Valentine's Day is still celebrated by millions of people with money to spend, billions of dollars in fact. According to information provided by the National Retail Federation, aggregate monies spent on flowers, candy and other tokens of affection are estimated at $17.3 billion, with the typical purchase in the amount of $133.91, a modest increase from last year's $130.97.
Candy, flowers, jewelry, cards and dinners out top the lift of favorite gifts to give. The U.S. Census Bureau sheds more light on Cupid's holiday spending bonanza. According to "Valentine's Day 2014: Feb. 14" (Profile America: Facts for Features, January 14, 2014), there were nearly 1,200 chocolate and cocoa product manufacturing establishments in 2011 that accounted for $13.5 billion in shipments that same year. Over 15,000 florists accounted for an estimated $355 million in fresh cut roses. The History Channel website counts 150 million cards that are sent each year, "making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas." That's a lot of affection for your favorite friends and family members.
Besides gift giving, a survey carried out by the National Confectioners Association reveals that six out of ten people "agree that celebrating holidays like Valentine's Day brings happiness in tough economic times." See "New survey says Americans will choose chocolate over flowers this season" (January 29, 2014). The United States is not alone when it comes to February 14. See "Valentine's Day around the world" for a nice wrap-up, courtesy of New Zealand 3News.
Here's to a fun day of celebrating good things. In case one day is not enough, National Gumdrop Day follows on February 15, along with a continuation of the Random Acts of Kindness Week that runs through February 16, 2014.