Not Feeling the Love?

Time Business and Money, the same folks who brought you “Wine  Drinkers Will Pay More for Bottles with Hard-to-Pronounce Names,” proclaims Valentine’s Day “a  pale, pink shadow of its former self.”  Instead of passion, it’s more likely these days to bring on a sense of obligation, dread or just plain apathy.

How can this be, when the National Retail Federation‘s annual survey paints a rosey picture:

  • 60% of  Americans plan to celebrate the holiday
  • 91% of those in relationships will celebrate
  • They will spend on average $131  on gifts for spouses, significant others, friends, children, parents,  classmates, teachers, pets and co-wothers.
  • Average spending is expected to increase $4 from last year.

Underground Survey says…

But  has done his own survey. And according to Kit, most of the dozens of consumers he interviewed weren’t really enthusiastic, and few said that they thought of Valentine’s Day as a romantic event.  The three most common responses he heard:

  •  “I don’t care.”
  • “I feel obligated.”
  • “I  feel left out.”

It’s a Man’s Job

According to the NRF survey, men spend more than twice as much as  women – an average $108 compared to $53 for women.

And while many men gripe that that they do it to say out of trouble, many women also say it doesn’t really mean that much to them either:

Caroline, 36, is one of many who refer to Valentine’s Day “a Hallmark  holiday.” “It’s a made-up marketing thing,” she says. She expects her husband  will give her “some gummy hearts and a bouquet of flowers like last year,” which  she says is nice, but not necessary. “I tell him he doesn’t have to get me  anything but he wants to. It’s sweet. He’s great. But is it romantic? I don’t  really look at it that way.”

Many singles aren’t feeling the love either, and many say they feel even worse to see their co-workers and friends receiving flowers, while they don’t.

What’s Marketing to Do?

Considering this ambivilence,  there’s been such a push to expand  Valentine’s Day beyond romance. Spending on sweethearts  is projected to decrease while overall spending goes up as more is spent on dogs, cats, friends, co-workers, parents, teachers  and kids. TRF report predicts:

  • We’ll spend $815 million this year just on our  pets.
  • This includes dog cookies decorated like a box of chocolates for pets
  • Heart-shaped pencil cups for office friends.

Either marketers are getting desperate  or consumers simply aren’t feeling the love.