Total consumer spending for Valentine’s Day in the US this year is expected to fall 20% from last year, likely due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to data analyzed by Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

Only 52% of Americans are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, with estimated total spending of $21.8 billion, according to the US’ National Retail Federation (NRF).

This amount is a dramatic 20.4% decline from 2020 when it reached a record high level of $27.4 billion. Average spending per person is also expected to decline by 16.1% to $164.76, from $196.31 in 2020, according to the NRF data.

“There is no question the pandemic has disrupted many aspects of Americans’ daily interactions and activities,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

“However, there remains a special significance around Valentine’s Day, and consumers are committed to celebrating friends and loved ones, even if that means having to alter those traditional holiday celebrations,” he added.

While 73% of consumers who will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year will keep in mind the current state of the pandemic, only 24% said they will celebrate it with an evening out – the lowest in NRF data history. Some 41% are planning a special dinner and/or celebration at home.

A plurality of consumers, 38%, plan to shop online for gifts for their loved ones, followed by department and discount stores with 29% and 28%, respectively.

While 54% are planning to buy candy for their significant others, 44% are looking for gift cards, and 36% are set to buy flowers.

Around $1.6 billion is forecast to be spent on candy, $1.9 billion on flowers, and a whopping $4.4 billion on diamonds, gold, and silver.

15% of women admit sending themselves flowers

According to the Society of American Florists, approximately 224 million roses were grown for Valentine’s Day this year.

While 64% of men are expected to buy flowers, against only 36% of women, 61% of men say they would like to receive flowers from a woman for Valentine’s Day, while 15% of women admit they will send themselves flowers on this special day.

Red roses constitute the vast majority of flowers sold each year.

While there are thousands of species and cultivars of this flower, the specific red rose represents love and romance. It has been a symbol of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and the ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite.

The number of roses sent for loved ones also has different meanings. An odd number of roses traditionally symbolizes that your significant other is “the one and only in your heart.” While a single rose indicates love at first sight, two has a meaning of “shared and deep love,” and three roses say, “I love you.”

In honor of St. Valentine, a third-century Roman saint, the holiday was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to be celebrated every Feb. 14.

Valentine’s Day started to be associated with a tradition of courtly and romantic love in 14th-century medieval Europe among nobility when chivalry has its historical roots.

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