Proposals, raised spending to mark Valentine's Day

Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:52am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumers will be digging deeper into their pockets to buy flowers, gift cards and chocolates on Valentine's Day with average spending expected to rise eight percent over last year to nearly $200.

And along with their expanding wallets 4 million Americans are expected to pop the question or receive a proposal on Feb 14.

"We've seen a consistent trend of consumers saying they will spend more, from holiday shopping to 2012 travel plans, and spending plans for Feb 14 are no exception," said Sonali Chakravorti, vice president at American Express.

In its latest spending and savings tracker American Express questioned 2,000 adults across the United States to gauge how much and on what consumers will be spending their money on Cupid's big day.

Nearly half of people said they intend to celebrate at a favorite restaurant, seven percent more than last year. Flowers are still the most popular gift for a Valentine, followed by gift cards, jewelry and electronics.

Among couples getting betrothed, 30 percent said they would propose during a weekend getaway or vacation, which have been dubbed engagementcations.

To seal the deal, 48 percent of people think an engagement ring costing between $1,000 to $5,000 would be appropriate but 22 percent said up to $2,000 for bling would be more realistic, while five percent thought nothing of spending $10,000 or more on a ring.

Although nearly 40 percent of women think whoever asked for the date should pay for it, 14 percent said the bill should be split, but most unmarried men said they would cover the cost of the date.

Finances can be a delicate subject, so half of people don't talk about money until they have been together six months and 20 percent of married couples did not broach the subject until after they have tied the knot.   Continued...

<p>A delivery man carries a bouquet of white roses for delivery on Valentine's Day in New York City February 14, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>