Mastercard SpendingPulse: Love for Experiences Is in the Air this Valentine's Day

Originally Published Mastercard.

By Julia Monti

Valentine’s Day is a holiday known for its roses, chocolate, jewelry and, increasingly, experiences like eating out and travel, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which provides insights into overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check.


An analysis of U.S. retail spending trends in the week leading up to and including Valentine’s Day found that 2019 could see another positive sales performance, with experiential spending on restaurants and hotels expected to see solid growth.

Other key findings for the pre-Valentine’s Day sales week of February 8 to 14, compared to the same period in 2018:

  • Spending on experiential gifts is expected to continue to grow.
    • For restaurants, retail sales could increase 5.4% to $15.3 billion.
    • Hotels sales may increase 9.0% year-over-year to $1.4 billion.
  • More traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like jewelry and luxury goods may see less traction this year.
    • Jewelry sales are expected to decrease this year to $1.1 billion. This follows a surge in 2018 (compared to 2017) of 26.9 percent.
    • Luxury sales could be roughly flat (down just .4%), generating $250 million.
  • Retail sales growth for Valentine’s Day has seen its ups and downs in recent years, with a noteworthy dip across the board in 2017 due to several factors. Impacts included weather, the day of the week the holiday fell on and overall economic confidence.
  • Last year, tax cuts and larger corporate bonuses coupled with a favorable employment environment led to positive growth in all of the sectors measured (restaurants, jewelry, hotel and luxury).

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