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Visa Inc. Survey: No Economic Recovery for Valentine’s Day — Americans Spending Less this Year

Love is on a budget in 2012, with a new survey by Visa Inc. finding that Americans will spend less on Valentine’s Day gifts, flowers, dining and other items this year. Americans plan on spending $117 this Valentine’s Day, down 3% from $121 in 2011.

The drop can largely be explained by the plummeting enthusiasm among women for spending on Valentine’s Day, falling from $101 in 2011, to a meager $87 in 2012 — a 14% drop. In contrast, men are actually planning on spending more this year, $149, compared to $140 in 2011, an increase of 6%. The gulf between what men and women now spend on Valentine’s Day is dramatic. Men will spend 71% more than women on what has now become a one-way holiday.

Indicating a generation gap in enthusiasm for the holiday, younger people (18-24 years old) plan on spending the most of any age group at $132, while those 25-34 expect to spend $124. Consumers between the ages of 35 and 49 will spend an average of $123 and people 50-64 years of age plan to spend just $98.

Significant regional disparities continue to exist in Valentine’s Day spending. In 2011 the Midwest came in dead last in spending for February 14, but in a surprising result this year the region lead the pack at $139. Bringing up the rear in 2012 is the South at $97. In addition, consumers in the North East plan on spending an average of $137 while people in West expect to spend $112.

The survey found that people in the lowest income bracket — who earn less than $20,000 per year — plan to spend more than consumers earning from $20,000 to $50,000 on Valentine’s Day. Consumers who earn between $20,000 and $29,999 plan to spend just $96, $30,000 to $39,000, $120, those earning $40,000 to $49,999, $105 and individuals earning over $50,000, $126. Consumers earning over $75,000 expect to spend almost $139.

“Those who try to impress by overspending on Valentine’s Day may find it has the opposite effect,” said Jason Alderman, Visa’s senior director of financial education. “The key is to know what you can afford and stick to your budget.”

Visa offers to consumers it’s free, award-winning financial education program - Practical Money Skills for Life ( to help manage Valentine’s Day spending. The program reaches millions of people around the world each year. The full survey results can be seen at

Interview Availability:
Jason Alderman, national personal finance expert and director of Visa’s financial education programs, is available for interviews to discuss the survey findings as well as offer consumers tips on how they can budget properly for Valentine’s Day.

*The survey results are based on 1,000 telephone interviews conducted nationally from January 27 — 29, 2012 in cooperation with GfK Roper OmniTel. The full results can be viewed here.

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