Lost Love: Valentine Spending Will Break Hearts

If your business involves jewelry (-5.1%), flowers (-2.0%), dining out (-6.1%), clothing & intimate apparel (-6.7%) or romantic getaways (-3.5%), don’t expect much love this year from Valentine’s Day customers. Those figures are how much your sales may drop over ’08 numbers, says top industry research firm IBISWorld.  Valentine’s Day spending overall is expected to dip 4.8% this year compared to 2008 — down 6.8% from 2007.

“Valentine’s Day is more of a discretionary occasion than Christmas and birthdays, which means it will be hit particularly hard by the current economic climate,” says George Van Horn, senior analyst at IBISWorld. Big ticket items such as jewelry, expensive dinners, lingerie, roses and weekend getaways are likely to suffer the most.

But all love is not lost. Spending on cheaper expressions of affection — namely greeting cards and candy — is expected to rise about 1% , although IBISWorld says small gift shops and newsstands won’t benefit as consumers buy these products at the big box and warehouse stores instead. IBISWorld expects many couples to opt for other inexpensive ways to celebrate, such as cooking a romantic meal at home, enjoying a picnic or even writing a love letter.