It may be a day of love, but Valentine’s Day can also be one of the pricier holidays for many U.S. consumers.

Those who celebrate the holiday in 2022 are expected to spend an average of $175 each, and the top five expenses planned by consumers are candy, greeting cards, flowers, an evening out and jewelry, according to a Valentine’s Day survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Valentine’s day statistics

A total of $23.9 billion is expected to be spent across the U.S. on Valentine’s Day in 2022, the NRF survey found, with 53 percent of consumers planning to celebrate the holiday. Men are expected to spend about twice as much as women: $235 vs. $119, on average.

NRF’s survey of 7,728 U.S. adult consumers was conducted Jan. 3-11, 2022.

This year’s $175 planned per-person average spending increased slightly from $165 in 2021 and reflects the second-highest amount since the survey was first conducted in 2004.

“Following the historic level of consumer spending over the winter holidays, it appears that the trend will continue into 2022,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.

The demand in 2022 for gifts like tickets to sporting events or concerts has returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 41 percent reporting they would like to receive “a gift of experience,” which is up from 36 percent in 2021, the survey found.

How much money is spent on Valentine’s Day?

Candy is the most popular gift consumers plan to purchase for Valentine’s Day. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed intend to purchase chocolate and other sweets, while 40 percent plan to buy greeting cards and 37 percent expect to give flowers. Nearly a third of those surveyed planned to treat a loved one to an evening out, up from nearly a quarter in 2021.

Here’s the average amount U.S. consumers plan to spend on popular Valentine’s gift items in 2022:

Those who like to go all out may choose to shower their loved ones with chocolates, roses, fine dining, champagne and jewelry, all of which can add up to more than $600. Here are the average prices in 2022 for popular Valentine’s Day gifts:

Valentine’s Day spending by gender

Among men celebrating Valentine’s Day, more than half surveyed said they would buy items such as flowers and candy — 56% and 52%, respectively. Among women, the most common planned purchases are candy and greeting cards — 59% and 43%, respectively.

A total of 56 percent of men buying gifts intend to give flowers to loved ones, compared to 19 percent of women, according to the 2022 NRF survey.

About a quarter of women who purchased flowers for Valentine’s Day in 2021 did so for themselves, and nearly the same percentage of women who bought bouquets did so for their mothers, according to a Society of American Florists 2021 Valentine’s Day study. Among men who bought flowers, 7 percent reported getting them for themselves and 16 percent said they gave floral arrangements to their mothers.

Valentine’s Day spending by age

Those who are 35 to 44 years of age, a group that consists of some millennials and some members of Generation X, are likely to spend the most money on Valentine’s Day — a total of $280 — according to the NRF survey. The group that plans to spend the least on the holiday — a total of $87 — is made up of those age 65 and older.

Age Average planned Valentine’s Day spending
18-24 years $170
25-34 years $245
35-44 years $280
45-54 years $171
55-64 years $119
65 years+ $87

The most commonly planned purchase by members of almost all age groups celebrating the holiday will be candy, according to the survey. A quarter or more of those in all age groups also plan an evening out.

How consumers are shopping

Similar to the Christmas season, many consumers are likely to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts online, although most are still choosing to buy their loved ones’ items in person, the survey found. Those not shopping online report plans to visit department stores, discount stores, local small businesses and florists.

Valentine’s spending budgeting tips

At a time when less than half of Americans have enough savings to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, some may be looking for ways to make Valentine’s Day special this year without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you create a memorable celebration without overspending:

  • Cook a meal at home. A home-cooked meal could save you a bundle, considering the average price of fine dining for two on Valentine’s Day is $116. Making an at-home meal special can involve planning multiple courses and choosing a menu filled with your loved one’s favorite foods.
  • Choose flowers other than roses. Roses may be the most common bloom of choice for Valentine’s Day, but shoppers might find other flowers to be more affordable. The Society of American Florists 2021 Valentine’s Day study found that while 80% of those who bought flowers chose roses, others opted for bouquets that included tulips, carnations or lilies.
  • Consider thoughtful, less expensive gifts. A loved one may appreciate receiving a keepsake such as a photo in a frame or a handmade card.
  • Create a budget and stick with it. As with any major purchase, it’s important not to spend more than you can afford. Determining how much you’ll have in your bank account after your other monthly expenses can help you set your Valentine’s budget.

The bottom line

Slightly more than half of U.S. consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year — about the same as in 2021, according to the NRF study. If you’re among them, finding the perfect gifts without spending more than you’re comfortable with can seem overwhelming, especially in this time of inflation. But remember that sticking to a budget and having money in your savings account is more important than how much is spent on any holiday.