Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Spending

Happy Valentine's Day?  If you spent less than $130, than you are below average. Actually, if you and your significant other spend less than $260, you are below average.  So with $18.6 billion spent on Valentine's Day each year, I just have one question?


My wife and I have been happily married for more than a decade.  I would guess that in all of our years of marriage we have maybe spent $260 total.  Not each year, total.  This year I spent about $20 on my wife.  So unless she has a big $240 surprise for me, we will be below average yet again.

Now, $18.6 billion divided by $130 is only 143 million people.  Since the population of the US is north of 310 million, my guess is that they are only talking about adults (because if it was households then there would only be around $110 million which would bring the average up more). So possibly, there is even more spending that is going on from the younger crowd, you know the ones who buy giant teddy bears in the hopes of getting the amorous attention of their crush (don't those things cost more than $130 each).

Now, I am not in retail, never have been, but I always wanted to know how "they" figure out how much is spent on each holiday.  Halloween seems pretty easy - because it involves primarily candy and costumes, two things which aren't really purchased in massive quantities the reset of the year.  Mother's Day probably is made up of cards and flowers.  4th of July is fireworks and burgers. Christmas is probably a little more difficult, but as long as there is some month that is average, then you can compare it. So let me see if I can nuke this out ...

January - ????
February - Valentine's Day
March - Easter (if it happens this month) and St. Patrick's Day
April - Easter (if it happens this month)
May - Mother's Day
June - beginning of summer and Father's Day
July - 4th of July
August - back to school
September - Labor Day picnics (maybe) and some diehard Christmas shoppers
October - probably some Christmas and Halloween
November - Thanksgiving (food) and Christmas
December - Christmas shopping and returns

So, based on my limited understanding, it looks like January is the only month without a major shopping event.  But then for an event like Christmas, which the shopping spans several months, how do they identify which sales are Christmas and which are something else, like a birthday.

OK, I understand they get the numbers from a survey.  But that then just begs a different set of questions.  For instance, if I am being asked in the presence of someone else, I may be inclined to say a higher number just so people don't think I am a cheapskate (no, not really, I don't care what other people think about my spending habits).  And, since I am only spending $20, then that means someone is spending $250 to make up for me.

Sure hope his girlfriend doesn't get too fat from all that chocolate.


  1. And I am with any man who says, we're not really 'doing' something for Valetine's Day. If their wife demands that they do, then he gets a free pass for every other holiday (mother's day, anniversary, etc).

  2. I'm pretty sure it's not chocolate, it's diamonds, gold, flowers...