Diamond rings, extravagant flowers, romantic dinners, oh my!
Dreaded by some, adored by many, Valentine’s week is upon us once again, and this year Americans — particularly those of the male variety — are planning to celebrate their one and only by dishing out some major cash.
That’s right, twitterpated couples across the country will spend nearly 40 percent more this Valentine’s Day than they did last year, according to a survey by American Express.
Men often get a bad rap when it comes to Cupid’s big day, but this year, many are planning to up their game. Nearly half of men surveyed by the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker said they felt Valentine’s Day was a very important occasion to celebrate their relationship, compared to just 33 percent of women who felt the same way.
Husbands, boyfriends and fiancés plan to spend an average of $380 on their significant others — $100 more than last year. At the top of the gift list: flowers, followed by cards and jewelry, the survey revealed. And nearly 60 percent of men said they’d be the ones responsible for orchestrating the Valentine’s Day magic, with a fancy dinner being the most popular celebratory activity.
As for the women, 42 percent of those surveyed viewed Valentine’s Day as a fun holiday, not a major occasion. They plan to spend about $213 on their men this year, about $50 more than last year, according to the survey.
The jump in spending may be directly related to the type of gifts being purchased. With 14 million Americans either planning or expecting a proposal by the end of Feb. 14 — that’s 12 percent of the country’s population — purveyors of diamonds, silver and gold expect to be pulling in an average of $2,100 per ring, according the tracker.
“With the economy improving, American’s say they’re feeling more comfortable with their finances, and this time of year, that translates to more proposals and presents for Valentine’s Day,” said David Rabkin, a senior vice president at American Express.
From popping the question to a first date, 49 percent of the 1,713 adults surveyed said it’s the man’s responsibility to pick up the check. About one-third of respondents said the person who asked for the date should pay.
While we’re on the topic of first date etiquette, more than half of respondents said the biggest financial deal breaker is a declined credit card, followed by a contested bill, a failure to take the check and a proposal to split the cost of a meal.
An unrelated Valentine's Day survey by the National Retail Federation projects Cupid will stimulate a collective $18.9 billion.