18 Fond Financial Facts You Didn’t Know About Valentine’s Day

Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day?

Apparently, almost nobody.

To prove it, here are a few fond financial facts from the National Retail Federation that you can whisper into your lover’s ear — along with several bits of other Valentine’s Day trivia — while you’re both cuddling by the fireplace on February 14th. Or not.

1. Valentine’s Day is big business. In fact, Americans are expected to spend over $17 billion this year on everything from candy and flowers to romantic dinners and lingerie. That’s an increase of over 8.5 percent from what consumers said they would spend in 2011.

2. More to the heart of the matter, the average Don Juan will spend $126.03 this year on the object of his affection. That’s $9.82 more than last year.

3. According to the US Census Bureau, there were 2.1 million marriages in 2009 alone. Of those, 108,000 were performed in Nevada; it’s unknown how many were officiated in Sin City by an Elvis impersonator at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel — but if you’re interested, the going rate is $260.

4. The Census Bureau also notes that one out of five people like getting married so much they end up doing it again with somebody else; 1 in 20 take a trip down the aisle three times or more.

5. Thirty-six percent of all celebrants will buy flowers this year for their truelove, spending $1.8 billion. Maybe that’s why census data shows that there were 17,124 florists in America as of 2009.

6. Oh sure, you can easily find a florist in places like Valentine, Nebraska and Romeo, Michigan. Somewhat ironically though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find even one flower shop in Loving, New Mexico or Rose City, Texas.

7. As you might expect, the most popular Valentine’s Day gift in America this year will be candy. In fact, 50.5 percent of all romantics will spend $1.5 billion on the stuff. Still, that’s $500-million less than folks spent on Halloween candy last year.

8. Don’t feel too bad if you didn’t know that the first Valentine’s Day chocolate box was introduced in 1868 by Richard Cadbury. You’ve got some explaining to do, however, if you didn’t know he’s the same guy who founded the Cadbury chocolate company.

9. And while candy may be dandy, according to the online men’s magazine AskMen, if you’re looking to score major points with your significant other this year, your best bet is jewelry, followed by: couples dance lessons; a spa massage gift certificate; a jewelry box; and perfume.

10. No doubt that explains why more people than ever are expected to buy gold jewelry and other shiny finery for their steadies this Valentine’s Day; 18.9 percent, to be exact. And they’ll spend $4.1 billion doing it.

11. The most popular jewelry item in the US is the solitaire engagement ring. That’s followed by wedding bands, diamond earrings, strings of pearls, and heart-pendant necklaces.

12. Then again, what do us men know? According to a 2011 poll by iVillage, a website firmly geared toward the fairer sex, when it comes to tangible Valentine’s Day gifts, more women said they would prefer a romantic dinner over anything else, apparently including jewelry. Uh huh. I have trouble buying that one too.

13. Whatever you do, fellas, just make sure you get something. That same poll found 8 out of 10 women were definitely expecting a gift on Valentine’s Day.

14. The good news is the ladies don’t expect their men to break the bank; 86 percent said they’d be happy with a gift under $55. Yes, technically, “free” is under $55.

15. Of course, if you’re one of the 3 percent of pet owners who will be spending $4.52 on their furry friends this Valentine’s Day, giving a gift to your sweetheart that doesn’t cost anything probably isn’t such a good idea.

16. At the very least, you should probably get your Romeo or Juliet a Valentine’s Day card. You certainly won’t be alone; America will spend $1.1 billion on them this year.

17. According to the US Greeting Card Association, over 190 million greeting cards are exchanged in the United States on Valentine’s Day — and one billion worldwide. Only Christmas is more popular.

18. Speaking of Valentine’s greetings, the first is credited to poet Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in 1382: For this was on seynt Volantynys day, whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make. I know. By the way, there’s absolutely no truth to the rumor that Chaucer later applied for a job at Hallmark, only to be ingloriously passed over because the poor chap couldn’t spell. Well, at least I don’t think there isn’t.

Photo Credit: Jessica Spengler


  1. 1


    It’s not just in America either. We escaped to Thailand and you would think in a primarily Buddhist (95%) country that Saint Valentines Day would be given a pass. Not so. In fact, I think the Thais may celebrate it with more fervor than we do in America. Well Thais do love a good celebration or party. Here’s another fact to add to your list:
    Alarmed by polls showing one in four Thai teens will celebrate St. Valentine’s Day by having sex, police plan to swoop on motels, malls and parks to ensure youths behave themselves on the “Day of Love.”

    • 2

      Len Penzo says

      Wow. I guess if you’re going to rob a bank in Thailand, your best bet will be to do it on Valentine’s Day.

  2. 3

    Olivia says

    Hey Len,

    Surely you jest. I think you’d better check with your honeybee about the romantic dinner. (Number 12)

    Being of the female set, I can’t think of anything better than a nice quiet leisurely dinner I didn’t have to cook, don’t have to clean up after, away from the house, sans kids, with my favorite person, having adult conversation.

  3. 5


    All I can say is, Thank God for Pandora jewelry. Got my wife a bracelet for Christmas, now all I have to do is buy a new bead every time I am required to get her a gift. It was her idea and something she likes, which makes gift-buying for me a no-brainer from now on! The beads are not cheap btw… minimum $25!

    • 6

      Len Penzo says

      I hate to break this to you, Matt, but I think I just saw an advertisement from Pandora where they’re pitching some brand new two-carat yellow diamond “beads.” 😉

  4. 9


    Those are some interesting statistics!
    I think this year I’ll opt for the romantic dinner and if she was more I’ll just tell her how more women would prefer the dinner over a gift. You think that will work?? :)

    • 16

      Len Penzo says

      I’ve been throwing lots of jokes out about being cheap, but seriously, like Olivia said, you really can’t go wrong by making a nice simple, quiet dinner at home. Works every time!

  5. 17

    DC says

    Yeah! I’m married to one of those 2 out of 10 who don’t give a fig about Valentine’s. We just don’t care for the extreme commercialization that Valentine’s Day has become.

    What a racket! At a time when many people are still staring at their Christmas bills in disbelief, the message is, “Put that bill down and go spend more!”

    What did we do for Valentine’s? Mailed a final check to pay off the mortgage.

    • 20

      Len Penzo says

      I know. I just spent over $20 on five cards! Granted, I was at the grocery store, but I wasn’t going to spend a gallon of gas and waste an extra 30 minutes of my time trekking down to my local Party City where the cards are a buck a piece.

    • 24

      Len Penzo says

      I’m with you, Aloysa. My sentiments exactly. On the other hand, the Honeybee tends to get annoyed at times because I tend to be a bit too affectionate for her.

    • 26

      Len Penzo says

      LOL! Yes! Where were you when I was writing this piece, John? That wouldn’t have been an excellent aside.

  6. 27


    If 1.8 Billion is spent on flowers with 17,124 florists, that’s a pretty cool 105,116 per florist! I imagine a lot of it goes to big brands and also to supermarkets and other places that aren’t technically florists, but that’s pretty mindblowing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>