Due to the global pandemic, Valentine’s Day 2021 will look far different than in the past. But a pandemic won’t stop love birds from dropping almost $22 billion (with a “b”) in the U.S. to mark the occasion. As a reminder, consumer spending accounts for around 70 percent of the U.S. economy, sometimes referred to as gross domestic product, or GDP. With the economy still leaking oil, $22 billion represents a good jump-start. Attention St. Croix Valley residents, please continue to spend your money on candy, cards, flowers, jewelry, or an evening out, but do it locally!

The multi-billion dollar estimate for Valentine’s Day comes from the National Retail Federation, an organization forecasting consumer expenditures on the likes of back-to-school, Halloween, and holiday shopping after Thanksgiving. NRF’s estimate for 2021 is well below the forecasted $27.4 billion in spending on the 2020 pre-pandemic occasion. Ch-Ching.

And now for the juicy parts of Valentine spending. NRF predicts the average expense for romantics is almost $165.00 per person, down from 2020’s spending of around $196.00. For comparison, just ten years ago, in 2011, $116.00 per person was spent. Despite the 2020 health hiccup, the elevator was trending upward very nicely. The average expected spending for men is forecast at $231.00 while women expect to spend $101.00.

More juice (sweet treats, floral scents, and the aroma of food). More money will be spent on candy in 2021 than the previous year, and at 54 percent planning to make this purchase, it is the most popular choice. Thirty-six percent of NRF’s survey respondents said they plan to make flowers their gift of choice. That’s down from 37 percent in 2020. The pandemic means fewer nights out. Twenty-four percent are planning an evening out in 2021, compared to 34 percent last year. NRF says the 24 percent is the lowest in the survey’s history. An estimated 41 percent say they plan a special dinner or celebration at home. That still equates to consumer spending. And keep take-out in mind. The local restaurants would appreciate it. Most suffered throughout 2020.

Pets are rarely overlooked on any special day, so Valentine’s will be a big day for them. NRF says $1.3 billion will be spent on the furry little or big ones. This is more than the $1.1 billion spent on co-workers and the $1.0 billion spent on the mysterious “other”.

Where to shop? NRF says 38 percent of it will be done online, followed by 29 percent at department stores, 28 percent at discount stores, or 17 percent at both specialty stores and local/small businesses. A challenge is hereby made to St. Croix Valley romantics – small shops and businesses deserve at least a 25 percent share.

And finally the best news. Almost 75 percent of people marking Valentine’s Day in 2021 feel it’s important to celebrate due to the global pandemic. Celebrants can expect all kinds of goodies, and flowers, and cards, even if they are handmade or corny. Aside from altered plans and expenditures, let’s make Valentine’s Day in the St. Croix Valley extra special this year.

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