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18 financial facts about Valentine's Day

The ladies don't expect their men to empty their bank accounts: 86% said they'd be happy with a gift under $55.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 13, 2012 11:39AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


Len Penzo dot Com on MSN MoneyWho doesn't love Valentine's Day?


Apparently, almost nobody.


To prove it, here are a few fond financial facts from the National Retail Federation that you can whisper into your lover's ear -- along with several bits of other Valentine's Day trivia -- while you're both cuddling by the fireplace on Feb. 14. Or not.

  • Valentine's Day is big business. In fact, Americans are expected to spend more than $17 billion this year on everything from candy and flowers to romantic dinners and lingerie. That's an increase of more than 8.5% from what consumers said they would spend in 2011.
  • More to the heart of the matter, the average Don Juan will spend $126.03 this year on the object of his affection. That's $9.82 more than last year.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 2.1 million marriages in 2009 alone. Of those, 108,000 were performed in Nevada. I don't know how many were officiated in Sin City by an Elvis impersonator at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, but if you're interested, the going rate is $260.
  • The Census Bureau also notes that one out of five people like getting married so much, they end up doing it again with somebody else. One in 20 takes a trip down the aisle three times or more.
  • Thirty-six percent of all Valentine's Day celebrators will buy flowers this year for their true love, spending $1.8 billion. Maybe that's why census data show that there were 17,124 florists in America as of 2009.
  • Oh, sure, you can easily find a florist in places like Valentine, Neb., and Romeo, Mich. Somewhat ironically, though, you'll be hard-pressed to find even one flower shop in Loving, N.M., or Rose City, Texas. Post continues below.
  • As you might expect, the most popular Valentine's Day gift in America this year will be candy. In fact, 50.5% of all romantics will spend $1.5 billion on the stuff. Still, that's $500 million less than folks spent on Halloween candy last year.
  • Don't feel too bad if you didn't know that the first Valentine's Day chocolate box was introduced in 1868 by Richard Cadbury. You've got some explaining to do, however, if you didn't know he's the same guy who founded the Cadbury chocolate company.
  • And while candy may be dandy, according to online men's magazine AskMen, if you're looking to score major points with your significant other this year, your best bet is jewelry, followed by couples dance lessons, a spa massage gift certificate, a jewelry box and perfume.
  • No doubt that explains why more people than ever are expected to buy gold jewelry and other shiny finery for their steadies this Valentine's Day -- 18.9%, to be exact. And they'll spend $4.1 billion doing it.
  • The most popular jewelry item in the U.S. is the solitaire engagement ring. That's followed by wedding bands, diamond earrings, strings of pearls, and heart-pendant necklaces.
  • Then again, what do we men know? According to a 2011 poll by iVillage, a website firmly geared toward the fairer sex, when it comes to tangible Valentine's Day gifts, more women said they would prefer a romantic dinner over anything else, apparently including jewelry.Uh-huh. I have trouble buying that one too.
  • Whatever you do, fellas, just make sure you get something. That same poll found eight out of 10 women were definitely expecting a gift on Valentine's Day.
  • The good news is, the ladies don't expect their men to break the bank; 86% said they'd be happy with a gift under $55.
  • Of course, if you're one of the 3% of pet owners who will be spending $4.52 on their furry friends this Valentine's Day, giving a gift to your sweetheart that doesn't cost anything at all probably isn't a good idea.
  • At the very least, you should probably get your Romeo or Juliet a Valentine's Day card. You certainly won't be alone; America will spend $1.1 billion on them this year.
  • According to the Greeting Card Association, more than 190 million greeting cards are exchanged in the U.S. on Valentine's Day -- and 1 billion worldwide. Only Christmas is more popular for cards.
  • Speaking of Valentine's greetings, the first is credited to poet Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in 1382: "For this was on seynt Volantynys day, whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make." I know.

By the way, there's absolutely no truth to the rumor that Chaucer later applied for a job at Hallmark, only to be ingloriously passed over because the poor chap couldn't spell. Well, at least I don't think so.


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