Couples Spending Less This Year on Valentine's Day

February 11, 2016, Written By Lynn Oldshue
calendar - Valentines day

While 8 in 10 couples plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14, average spending is down 28%, according to a study by American Express. Americans expect to spend an average of $212 on the holiday, down from $296 in 2015 and closer to 2014’s $213.

Most couples plan to save on the two most popular Valentine’s Day expenditures: gifts and dining out. Anticipated gift spending is down to $72, from $115 in 2015, and projected dining costs have decreased from $103 to $70.

It seems as if more couples are planning to enjoy a romantic meal at home. 26% of survey respondents said they plan to celebrate this way, up from 24% in 2015.

“With Americans focused on increasing their savings goals this year, they expect to spend less for Valentine’s Day,” said Jed Scala, Senior Vice President, Consumer Lending at American Express. “However, consumers still plan to show their love and affection through alternative yet equally sentimental ways.”

While Valentine’s Day is still an important holiday to many, less people are buying into the hype. 35% of couples said they view it as more of a fun tradition than a “major” occasion, and only 28% of couples said it is an important time to celebrate their relationships.

People are forming these relationships increasingly online. According to the survey, 22% of couples said they met online or through a mobile dating app. Millennials are most likely to have been matched this way, with 33% reporting that’s how they met their partner (compared to 28% of GenXers and 11% of Baby Boomers).

No matter how people are meeting, Valentine’s Day proposals are down: only 8% plan to pop the question that day, compared to 12% of the respondents in 2015. Instead of proposing on the holiday, people are starting to ask the big question on couples’ getaways (22%), during a romantic home experience (16%) or with a special meal (7%).

Engagement jewelry is also changing. 54% of unmarried couples said a non-diamond ring was acceptable. In fact, one-third find a gemstone ring acceptable, followed by the couple’s birthstones (28%) or a special design, such as a knot or heart (28%).

There are conflicting ideas about how much the ring should cost. Men think $1,991 is appropriate, while women think $2,731 is the amount to spend.

While Valentine’s Day spending may be down, 76% of couples say they plan to spend money to “invest” in their relationship this year by:

  • Surprising their loved one with an unexpected gift (42%)
  • Enjoying a regular date night (39%)
  • Having a romantic getaway (26%)
  • Ignoring technology (23%)


The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 11, 2016. For up-to-date
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