Four retail trends for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a week away and will be a big spending holiday in the U.S. From teddy bears to dinner reservations, shoppers will be digging into their pockets to spoil that special someone. Gift seekers are expected to shell out more than $20 billion overall with an average spend of $136 per consumer, up 3.8 percent from 2013. Here's what to expect for Feb. 14:

Mobile and online gifting will be a big trend this year

Online shopping continues to gain in popularity and Valentine's Day is no exception. A National Retail Federation survey found that 26 percent of consumers plan to shop online this Valentine's Day, with 24 percent of shoppers researching products via smartphones and 32 percent shopping via tablets.

Several merchants began touting online deals as early as January. FTD.com, for example, has teamed up with Groupon to offer discounted floral delivery. PayPal is offering a free poem service that lets customers chat with a live poet and receive a custom poem within 48 hours. Shoppers can tip the poet using their PayPal account.

Shoppers will focus on meaningful gifts, not expensive ones

Overall, shoppers won't be spending much more on Valentine's Day gifts this year than they did last, according to the NRF. Spending per person is expected to be flat to up 3 percent. Since Valentine's Day falls on a Friday and many will also have Monday free for President's Day, shoppers will likely extend their celebration into the weekend with more meaningful weekend activities, versus just dinner and a movie during a single outing. According to a survey by TripAdvisor, 17 percent of couples will take a couples trip for Valentine's Day.

The long weekend also means that couples may end up dining out more than once (say, dinner on Friday night followed by a romantic brunch Saturday morning), so restaurant sales will see a boost. Surveys show that the number one gift choice for both males (26 percent) and females (21 percent) is a meal, which includes both home-cooked dinners and dinner in restaurants.

Frugality is for lovers

Nearly 18 percent of shoppers aren't planning to buy a gift at all, according to a survey by Retail Me Not. For some, gifts may have simply fallen out of favor as the emphasis shifts from spending on things to spending time together.

Jewelry sales will surge with engagements

Valentine's Day remains an extremely popular day for wedding proposals. Six million couples became engaged on Feb. 14, 2013, up from four million in 2012. If that trend is any indication, retailers can expect jewelry revenue to climb in the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day as the average estimated cost of an engagement ring in 2013 is $2,410. In February 2013, the U.S. Census reported that jewelry stores sold an estimated $2.8 billion in merchandise, which also includes sales of upgraded wedding bands by couples who are already married. The Jewelry Industry Research Institute forecasts that jewelry sales will grow a healthy 4.5 percent during this Valentine's season.

For more:
-See this National Retail Federation survey
-See this Fat Wallet survey
-See this Huffington Post article
-See this PayPal Poemgrams website

Related stories:
Valentine's Day: Tablets beat smartphones for mobile shopping
China's Singles Day shoppers set world record in online sales
Tiffany & Co. adds interactive tools to new e-commerce site
E-commerce holiday sales to jump 15 percent
1-800-Flowers crashes just before Valentine's Day. How cruel can e-commerce get? 

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