Couples Spending Less This Year on Valentine's Day

Couples Spending Less This Year on Valentine's Day

February 11, 2016         Written By Lynn Oldshue

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
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Lynn Oldshue

Lynn Oldshue has written personal finance stories for for twelve years. She majored in public relations at Mississippi State University.
View all posts by Lynn Oldshue
Featured Low Interest Card
Top Features : 1.25X miles on every purchase; no annual fee; bonus of 20,000 miles once $1,000 is spent in first 3 months
Featured Cash Back Card
Top Features : 1.5% cash back on all purchases; $150 bonus after spending $500 in first 3 months
Featured No Annual Fee Card
Top Features : Earn cash back TWICE. 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers
Featured Bad Credit Card
Top Features : Perfect credit not required; Reports to major credit bureaus
Featured Fair Credit Card
Top Features : No annual fee; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Limited/No Credit
Top Features : No annual fee; reports to major credit bureaus; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time