NYCEDC's blog

Pass the Caviar, Casanova: How Much Do New Yorkers Really Spend on Valentine’s Day?


Twenty-sixteen was the hottest year on record – and we don’t just mean the climate!

Valentine’s Day spending was the highest ever last year, but the National Retail Federation (NRF) [1] expects spending to ease a bit in 2017. The NRF survey projects that Americans will spend about $18.2 billion on the holiday this year compared with $19.7 billion last year. For sweethearts across the country, this constitutes an average spending of $136.57 per person; however, spending rises to $173.76 among consumers in the most romantic region in America – the Northeast. Despite spending increases (which means big gains for retailers), Cupid can’t be everywhere: the percentage of Americans who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day has decreased over the past decade, from 63% in 2007 to 54% in 2017.

Where many Americans are looking for love, retailers see green: the holiday is expected to generate a total of $4.3 billion for jewelry sales, the highest-grossing spending category, as well as $3.8 billion for evenings out, and $2 billion for flowers. The highest proportion of respondents (50%) will purchase candy, contributing to sales of $1.7 billion, and 47% of shoppers will buy a total of $1 billion worth of greeting cards. As expected, most shoppers will share gifts with a significant other or spouse (92% of respondents in the Northeast), followed by other family members (54%), and children’s classmates or teachers (20%). And if anyone doubted how much New Yorkers loved their dogs and cats, the NRF survey found that people in the Northeast are nearly twice more likely to spend money on their pets (20%) as they are to treat coworkers (11%). Sorry, Janice from accounting.

Out of the nation’s one hundred largest cities, WalletHub ranks New York City as number forty-nine for celebrating a romantic and cost-effective Valentine’s Day. [2]  The score is composed of measures for budget (in which the City ranks 82nd) and activities (in which it places 22nd). Perhaps this Valentine’s will be a day to take advantage of the best restaurants the City has to offer or to draw inspiration from these affordable recommendations. [3]

If you’re searching for someone to spend the day with, you’re not the only one; the Hinge dating app saw an uptick of 230% on Valentine’s Day 2015 when compared to other Saturdays. [4] Think of the bright side: at least you’ll get to pocket that extra $173.76!

Economic Data



Featured Blog Post