Valentine's Day: Fewer are celebrating but more money is being spent

It’s the holiday that everyone either loves---or loves to hate.

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While new data estimates that only half of Americans (51 percent) plan to even celebrate this year, those who are, plan to spend in record amounts.

The National Retail Federation estimates total spending this Valentine’s Day is expected to exceed $20.7 billion, a six percent increase over last year’s $19.6 billion.

Those estimates also trump the previous spending record of $19.7 billion that was set in 2016.

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shaw credits the “strong economy” for the boost in spending this year and the increase on spreading the love to other families members, not just significant others.

“With employment and income growing, consumers appear to be expanding the scope of who qualifies for a card or a box of candy.” Shay said in a press release.

NFR said it surveyed more than 7,380 adults 18 and older and found that half of them who are planning to celebrate said they would spend around $161.96 on average this year. That number is a 13 percent increase from last year’s $143.56 and easily tops the previous record of $146.84 set in 2016.

The lowest spending period, according to NRF’s research, was in 2009 during the Great Recession, where Americans spent an average $102.50.

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Here’s how much the NRF estimates Americans will spend.

Jewelry: $3.9 billion

Evening out: $3.5 billion

Clothing: $2.1 billion

Flowers: $1.9 billion

Candy: $1.8 billion

Gift cards: $1.3 billion

Greeting cards: $933 million