Valentine’s Day is this week. Historically, more than half of Americans are predicted to show their affection for loved ones this year by giving cards, flowers, candy and other gifts.
The celebration is thought to have originated in ancient Rome as a fertility festival called Lupercalia. The early church adopted the day circa 496 AD and chose mid-February as the date for the celebration of St. Valentine (although it no longer officially honors it). However, people all over the world today still celebrate Valentine’s Day in very different ways. Filipinos hold mass weddings, while South African women ‘wear their hearts on their sleeves’ by pinning the name of their love interest on the sleeves of their blouses.
In addition to dinner with significant others, Italians often give Baci Perugina, “chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped with a romantic quote printed in four languages.” And since February 15th conflicts with Carnivale, Brazilians celebrate Dia Dos Namorados – aka Lover’s Day – on June 12th instead, exchanging gifts and sharing dinner with lovers, family and friends.
The exchange of greeting cards began in the 15th century and now more than 190 million cards are given each year in the U.S., third behind Christmas and Mother’s Day. A big day for spending in the U.S., Valentine’s Day is expected to rake in $19.6 billion dollars for retailers in 2018, just shy of its 2016 peak of $19.7 billion.
A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation revealed that even 27 percent of those who do not plan to observe the day were indulging in the purchase of jewelry, clothing or a spa treatment for themselves. Interestingly, Acxiom data showed that those who spend more on Valentine’s Day tend to be high spenders throughout the year.
We further analyzed Acxiom data to understand how people shop for Valentine’s Day and uncover which segments tend to splurge on gifts. And if you haven’t shopped for anything yet, don’t worry. It just means you’re among the 10% of people who wait until February 13th.