Love in the Time of Inflation The Rising Cost of Valentine’s Day in 2024

By Jeannette Carrington 

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and affection. It has also become a significant event in the retail calendar. In 2024, the cost of Valentine’s Day is expected to be higher than ever, with the average consumer spending around $157.52.  

The increase in spending can be attributed to several factors. One of the main contributors is inflation, which has affected the prices of popular Valentine’s Day shopping categories. Comparing Q4 2022 to Q4 2023, the cost of common gifts such as candy, flowers, cards, jewelry, and even going out to eat have seen sizable increases.  

“I buy Valentine’s Day related items for my girlfriend, mom and girlfriend’s mom,” Charlie Moore said. “I buy people items out of the love and kindness of my heart.” 

Although Camrin Ferrell hasn’t celebrated Valentine’s Day since she was in middle school, her sister, Alyssa, does. Alyssa buys her significant other Valentine’s Day gifts. She tries to put together a basket of things and some flowers. 

Despite the rising costs, consumers are still willing to splurge on their loved ones.  

“Generally, the price of Valentine’s Day items is overpriced, but I feel like you just need to know where to look,” Alyssa Ferrell said. “Walmart, Dollar Tree, and flea markets are great places to look for great cost-effective things.” 

In 2023, U.S. consumers spent $26 billion (about $80 per person in the U.S.) on Valentine’s Day related purchases, which was an 8.37% year-over-year increase. This trend is expected to continue in 2024, with consumers prioritizing experiences over material gifts. 

“I feel that some items can be a bit pricey, but if you love that person the price shouldn’t matter,” Moore said. “Valentine’s Day is special, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to just that day to give gifts to someone you love dearly. The cost of those items shouldn’t hinder your giving spirit.” 

Allysa Ferrell agrees, “If you see something that the one you love would love, the cost doesn’t matter.” 

Interestingly, non-romantic gifts are also on the rise. In 2023, $7.1 billion (about $22 per person in the U.S.) was spent on presents for acquaintances like teachers and co-workers, including a record 32% of consumers buying for their pets. This shift in consumer behavior shows that Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love but also about showing appreciation to those around us. Retailers are capitalizing on this trend by offering themed products and experiences. For instance, Starbucks unveiled a Valentine’s Day menu featuring limited-edition drinks and tumblers. The merchandise pricing starts at $16.95, showing that businesses are willing to cater to the demand for unique and personalized gifts. 

The cost of Valentine’s Day in 2024 will be higher due to inflation and changing consumer behavior. Despite the increased costs, consumers are still willing to spend on their loved ones, making Valentine’s Day continue as a significant event in the retail calendar.  

About Jeannette Carrington

Jeannette is Editor-in-Chief. She is pursuing a degree in Graphic Design and a certificate in Photography. After graduation, she plans to expand her photography and graphic design business.
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