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31 January 2012

» Fifteen Percent to Say it with Jewelry this Valentine’s Day
Romance is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches and with consumer spending set to rise; it seems as if retailers are going to be getting a little more affection than last year. Love-struck consumers are expected to spend 8 percent more than in 2011, with four million people expected to announce their engagement on February 14, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.

Consumers are expected to spend $196 on gifts this year, and more of them are planning to do it – 54 percent in 2012 compared to 41 percent in 2011.

While flowers and gifts cards are the most popular options – 29 percent and 19 percent respectively – jewelry purchases are expected to total 15 percent of gifts, edging out the somewhat less romantic electronics option, which is predicted to be the choice of some 13 percent of consumers.

“Whether people are planning to get engaged, or just celebrate the holiday with flowers and a night out, consumers are telling us they can open their wallets a little wider for Valentine’s Day,” says Sonali Chakravorti, vice president at American Express. “We’ve seen a consistent trend of consumers saying they will spend more, from holiday shopping to 2012 travel plans, and spending plans for February 14 are no exception.”

While Valentine’s Day will be a prime proposal occasion, American Express estimates that 14 million expect a proposal at some point in 2012, which is good news for jewelers.

Keeping all those future marriages in mind, the survey also looked at the price of engagement rings. Forty-eight percent of single consumers feel that anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 is an appropriate amount for couples to spend on an engagement ring this year.

Others, however, feel the price range should be even lower, with 22 percent citing $1,000 to $1,999 as appropriate, and 21 percent citing less than $500. A high-spending 5 percent feel that shelling out $10,000 or more for the ring is most suitable.

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2,000 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as two sub-groups – the Affluents and Couples. Affluents are defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000. Couples are defined as single living with a partner or single with a significant other.

IDEX Online Staff Reporter

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