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The cost of love and romance
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By Joshua Pilkington - Reprint from: 2/17/16

An in-depth look on how much we spent on our Valentine

Valentine’s Day often times means an excess of flowers, chocolates and cards to demonstrate affection.

Just four years ago an expert said, “We won’t have hard numbers until later this year, but going off of last year’s final tallies and this year’s estimates we can expect somewhere between $13.3 and $15 million in Valentine’s Day spending,” said John Browning of the Statistic Brain Research Institute. “That can include spending on cards, flowers, food and drink among other expenditures catered to the day’s festivities.”

Browning went further into the breakdown saying on average 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually and the average number of roses produced for Valentine’s Day is 198 million.

“You have to be careful with roses on Valentine’s Day,” said Martin Escobedo who has continuously produced a bouquet of roses for his spouse every year of their 15-year relationship including 12 years of marriage. “Most of them come from Colombia or Ecuador because of the volcanic soil in those regions, however, there is always a chance of a freeze, which means a shipment can come in and just not last to February 15. You have to be very weary of that…voice of experience here.”

Flowers, roses in particular are just one of many purchases made on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants across the country offer pre-fixed menu options at a discounted price to get couples through the door, while grocers typically offer all the menu item favorites – from steak and lobster tail to chicken and pork chops – at discounted prices as well.

“I kind of enjoy just being able to eat an elegant, home-cooked meal with my husband and kids,” said Sandra Williams who hasn’t gone out on Valentine’s Day since giving birth to her second son four years ago. “I grew up in kind of a misogynistic household where the patriarch was in charge of making Valentine’s Day special. It was like he was making up for every other day of the year when he failed to show any affection whatsoever. I consider myself lucky that my husband makes me feel loved and appreciated 365 days a year so in a lot of regards Valentine’s Day is just February 14th for us.”

Williams did add that her husband usually does prepare the Valentine’s Day feast for her and her sons, “but he’s also probably a better chef than I am anyway.”

From a statistical standpoint both men and women open their wallets on Valentine’s Day. According to Statistic Brain the average consumer spends $116.21 on Valentine’s Day, a number that seems a little low to Escobedo.

“When you add it all up, the flowers, the gift, the card and the food, there is no way you’re spending a $116 dollars,” Escobedo said. “You’re spending that on wine alone in many cases.”

When it comes to gifts, statistics show that the most common gifts, at a rate of 52.1 percent, are cards. That is followed closely by candy at 47.5 percent while dining and flowers are neck and neck at 34.6 and 34.3 percent, respectively.

“What we find in many cases is that multiple gifts are combined,” Browning said. “Most consumers won’t just give a card. They will give a card, flowers, candy and take their significant other out to a fairly elegant dining experience.”

Why make so much effort for one day? According to a Statistics Brain survey, 53 percent of women would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day.

“I probably would have been that fickle 10 years ago,” Williams said. “Like I said, I was raised in a family where flowers, cards, candy, dinner, wine and even jewelry were expected for Valentine’s Day. Today, though, I really couldn’t care less.”





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