The numbers are telling and interesting: Though fewer Americans are celebrating the February holiday of Valentine’s Day, those who are participating are spending more than ever, according to the world’s largest retail trade association, National Retail Federation, in its Valentine’s Day Spending Survey report conducted by Ohio-based Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Results showed that only 51 percent of Americans planned to celebrate the holiday; however, spending was up $18.40 per person over the previous year, with consumers saying they would shell out an average of $162. Total spending in the U.S. was expected to be $20.7 billion, a 6 percent increase from the previous year.
Locally, and more anecdotally, businesses are expecting another productive year for Valentine’s Day-related spending.
At Toscano’s Italian Grill in Sumner, co-owner Tom Pantley said the holiday draws a big crowd.
“Valentine’s Day, along with New Year’s Eve, are our two busiest days of the year,” Pantley said.
He also noted that the holiday’s positioning in 2020 during a weekend has provided greater flexibility for his clients searching a romantic candle-lit Italian meal.
“With a restaurant that only seats 50 people, we are challenged to accommodate all our guests on these kinds of holidays. So, we will offer a special Valentine’s menu Thursday through Sunday,” he said.
Elsewhere in the South Sound, Auburn-based Solei Day Spa said in early January that it already had booked several of its couples’ retreats — a 75-minute massage followed by a gold-spun honey foot polish — surrounding the holiday.
“Valentine’s Day is Solei’s busiest and favorite time of year,” said marketing manager Amanda Clift. “We enjoy celebrating love in all of its forms, and do so with specials on couples’ retreats, gift certificates and ‘treat yourself’ services.”
For folks who prefer to gift an experience, Clift said that, second only to Christmas, Valentine’s Day sells the most gift cards of any other holiday.
“Last year, we sold over 100 gift certificates in a two-week span leading up to Valentine’s Day, and we were thrilled to be the place that people wanted to gift their loved one with relaxation,” she said.