Think Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday? Actually, we’ve been sharing greetings of love since the Middle Ages. The oldest-surviving Valentine was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife in 1415.
Fast-forward six hundred years, and 142 million cards will be shared this year. Hallmark’s been cranking them out since 1916, and today you can choose from over 1,200 styles to say ‘I Love You,’ some for only 99 cents.
Still, this holiday is big business for plenty of merchants. Americans are expected to spend $36.8 billion on V-Day this year, with the average consumer predicted to drop $213 on gifts and experiences.
Men will surprise their sweeties with greeting cards, flowers and jewelry, while women will bestow cards, gadgets and gift cards on their significant others. More than half of Americans will use technology to send romantic tidings, via text message or Facebook.
Women rank flowers as the top gift they’d like to receive, and the 233 million roses produced for Valentine’s Day could wrap around the earth 3.8 times when laid end to end. The average cost of a dozen long-stem roses is $63, but jumps to $80 this time of year. Believe it or not, rose prices aren’t as volatile as less sensual perishables like grapes or cabbage.
Seems diamonds are still a girl’s best friend, too. $2.8 billion in jewelry was sold in in February 2013. For that chunk of change, you could produce the blockbuster Transformers 3 a whopping 14 times.
If you’re looking for something sparkly for that special someone, Tiffany & Co. offers gifts in their women’s Valentine’s shop ranging from $75 to $240,000. Some of those gem purchases will likely include engagement rings, as 6 million people will receive or plan their proposal on February 14.
Fifty-two percent of Americans’ relationship status was ‘married’ last year, and 68% said they were either currently or formerly espoused. The median age for a first marriage is 29 for men and 26 for women. Nevada ranks number one in marriages performed, followed by Hawaii.
If you’re still waiting for Cupid’s arrow, consider consulting one of the nearly 4,000 dating services, a $2 billion industry. Match.com sees a 25-30% increase in new memberships between December 26 and February 14. Twenty-four percent of men say they would rather have a root canal than be single on Valentine’s Day, compared with just 16% of women.
But, whether you’re in love or alone, everyone can treat him or herself to a little sweetness on Valentine’s Day. More than $707 million dollars’ worth of candy is purchased. That’s about 127 million pounds, or, the weight of six Eiffel Towers. That includes 4 million pounds of Necco Sweethearts. Roughly 100,000 are produced per day in the six weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. This year, the big spender can impress his or her date with solid-gold Sweethearts for less than $20k! Just make sure you don’t eat it.
For a more adult treat, why not raise a glass? Two million bottles of sparkling wine, costing $23 million, will be consumed for V-Day. That’s enough to fill over 1,300 hot tubs.
And, Americans plan to spend about $83 on an elegant dinner. But if you’d prefer something more casual, consider a Valentine’s meal at White Castle. Seriously. You and your date will dine on a budget, complete with tablecloth, candlelight and commemorative photo. Reservations required.
Of course, Valentine’s Day leads to Valentine’s night. Sales of Durex condoms increase 20% around the holiday, equal to about 180,000 condoms. Surprisingly, all this love doesn’t lead to a spike in birthrates nine months later.