Valentine’s Day is an ancient holiday, believed to have roots as far back as the third century in Rome. Though the holiday’s precise origin has been lost to history, Valentine’s Day is a cultural touchstone in many countries around the world. In the United States, Valentine’s Day is a multi-billion dollar boon for retailers and restaurants.
According to industry advocacy group National Retail Federation, 51% of American adults are expected to celebrate the holiday in 2019, the smallest share in at least 10 years. Despite waning participation, total holiday spending is projected to hit a record high of $20.7 billion in 2019 — up 5.6% from 2018.
While many use the occasion to buy candy, cards, and gifts for family members, coworkers, friends, and even pets, the vast majority of Valentine’s Day spending in the United States goes towards spouses and significant others.
The NRF estimates that about one in every three American adults will celebrate with a night out this year. On top of that, an estimated 52% of Americans will mark the occasion by buying candy, 44% will buy a card, and 35% will buy flowers.
According to the NRF, the average cost of a couple’s night out on Valentine’s Day is $55.44 in the United States. Tack on some traditional Valentine’s Day mainstays like flowers, candy, cards, and jewelry, and total holiday expenses fall just shy of $200. Of course, because the cost of living varies considerably by state, so too does the average cost of Valentine’s Day.
To determine the average cost of a Valentine’s Day dinner in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on average expected spending on a night out based on a survey of American adults conducted by the National Retail Federation. Average spending on candy, cards, and flowers also came from the NRF. Cost by state was calculated by doubling the NRF’s individual spending metric to better represent a couple spending and by adjusting that figure by the overall cost of living in a given state.