By Alec Binette

Anyone who has gone shopping in late January or early February has almost definitely experienced a flood of the color red.  During this time of the year, retailers focus on cashing in on Valentines day’s allure.  Stores ranging from Stop and Shop to Nordstrom begin to alter the appearance of both their stores and their products in hopes to sell gifts for this year’s special day.  Whether you participate in gift giving on Valentine’s day or not, this holiday has a great effect on the economy and businesses both large and small.   

Every year, billions of dollars are spent on the holiday by consumers with an average spending of around $150 dollars per person, according to the National Retail Foundation.  Over that past few years, people have been spending more and more money with no sign of slowing down.  For consumers, this is a day where they can give something to someone special in their life without necessarily worrying about a budget.  A majority of spending is spent on jewelry with 20% of consumers claiming that they would be purchasing some sort of jewelry.  In addition, close to one billion dollars in spending comes from the sales of greeting cards while the sale of candy is estimated to be around $1.5 billion dollars according to a survey by The Motley Fool.      

Even with the popularity and the stigma surrounding this holiday, it is reported that almost 50% of people do not celebrate it in the typical way.  Over the past decade, this participation rate has dropped more than 10%.  It seems that consumers are not viewing this holiday the same anymore and they are losing the desire to participate.  Part of this can be traced back to the culture today, where people are less likely to be married or be in a relationship than in the past.  In addition, many millennials do not see the need of spending large amounts of money on a seemingly “made up” holiday.  It seems that these individuals would rather spend the money in a different way rather than on a materialistic gift.  Much of the spending that occurs for Valentine’s day is not directed at one’s significant other, but rather a collection of friends, family and spending on themselves.  Even though less people may be celebrating the holiday, spending has still been increasing and it is estimated to be around $20 Billion Dollars this upcoming year, which will be an all-time high.   

In conclusion, Valentine’s day is a holiday that is both loved and dreaded by many.  Even so, the impact that it has on businesses and the economy cannot be ignored.  As stated above, spending is expected to reach record levels this season and this is a great way to put money back into the economy.  Although spending has increased, participation has declined which can be traced back to the hyper commercialization of the holiday and the growth in a younger overall population.  Whether you participate in the holiday or not, be sure to capitalize on the post Valentine’s day candy sales at your local supermarket.