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Valentine’s Day 2014: More Americans Say They’ll Spend for Love

08/02/2014 17:53 (70 Day 02:06 minutes ago)

The FINANCIAL -- Americans aren’t shy about showing their love, and their spending will show it this Valentine’s Day, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.

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Spending will reach $37 billion as more consumers (74% say they’ll participate vs. 69% in 2013) plan to spend on their special someone, dishing out $213 on average, down slightly from last year’s average of $239. For some Americans couples, the holiday will be extra special; of the 13 million (19%) who expect to be engaged by year end, half (6 million) will receive or plan their proposal on Valentine’s Day, according to American Express Company.

 

While more couples will make the effort to show their love on February 14, the pressure to have the perfect Valentine’s Day seems to be easing. Aside from those planning or receiving a proposal this holiday, more couples agree that it’s a fun holiday, but not a major occasion (35% vs. 30% in 2013), while fewer feel it’s an important day to celebrate their relationship with a significant other (32% vs. 38% in 2013).

Whether matched up or flying solo, Americans are celebrating this year, with 85% (vs. 86% in 2013) of couples and 45% (vs. 38% in 2013) of singles marking the holiday, according to American Express Company.

 

Men plan to dish out more for their loved ones this holiday, spending more on average ($254 vs. $275 in 2013) then their female counterparts ($125 vs. $155 in 2013). While both will include a sentimental greeting card (57% vs. 55% for men and 59% for women in 2013), men will choose to purchase flowers (54% vs. 56% in 2013) and jewelry (24% vs. 25% in 2013), and women plan to snatch up gadgets (16%, on par with 2013) and gift cards (13%, on par with 2013), according to American Express Company.


To share that they care, Americans are shying away from technology and social media, and use of these platforms to share Valentine’s Day messages is down to 52% from 56% in 2013. Those who still send their love digitally will:

Send a romantic text message (28 vs. 29% in 2013)Message or post on social media (27% vs. 29% in 2013)
Send an email (22% vs. 21% in 2013)
Send an eCard (16% vs. 20% in 2013) 

With the stage set, all eyes are on the bling and American couples cite $2,311 as the average appropriate price tag for an engagement ring, slightly lower than 2013’s average ($2,410). A quarter of couples (25% vs. 21% in 2013) believe the appropriate amount to spend on the engagement ring is between $2,000 and $4,999, but most (38% vs. 42% in 2013) are more conservative, citing less than $1,000. A few high rollers (16%, on par with 2013) put a price of $5,000 or more on their hardware.

As for the best setting to pop the question, men say they prefer a proposal while on vacation (31% vs. 25% in 2013), while women crave romantic ambiance at home (27% vs. 18% in 2013), according to American Express Company.


Money and finances continue to be important topics for couples, though the number of couples having financial conversations at least once a week is down slightly to 52% from 59% last year. In general, couples are waiting to initiate financial conversations until 6-12 months into a relationship (24% vs. 18% in 2013), compared to 2013 when most raised the subject within six months of meeting (44% vs. 36% in 2014).

Although they may talk finances regularly, some couples might hold out on their significant other this year. More women in particular admit to hiding purchases (40% vs. 27% in 2013), compared to just a third (33% vs. 39% in 2013) of men. The likely justification: a growing number of men report frivolous expenditures as their number one financial pet peeve (24% vs. 18% in 2103), according to American Express Company.

 

 

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