Valentines to bring more love to US candy makers


While many people will be gazing into the eyes of their loved ones on Valentine's Day, US confectionaries will be merrily looking into the profits they made from the day of romance. Total spending for this year's Day of Hearts is expected to reach a record US$14.2 billion, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
"Retailers are ready to help customers this Valentine's Day with meaningful and memorable gifts," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a media report. "With consumers prioritising their spouse or significant other this year, retailers expect to see a shift in spending for certain gifting categories."
The top gifts include chocolates/candy (57%), greeting cards (40%), flowers (39%), an evening out (32%), jewellery (22%), clothing (21%) and gift cards (19%). New spending records are expected for jewellery ($6.4 billion), flowers ($2.6 billion), clothing ($3 billion) and an evening out ($4.9 billion).
More than half of consumers (53%) plan to celebrate Valentine's Day this year, on par with 52% last year. Overall, consumers plan to spend $25.8 billion to celebrate Valentine's Day, on par with the previous year's spending and the third highest in the survey's history. Findings reveal 62% of consumers ages 25-34 plan to celebrate this year, more than any other age group. 
Online shopping is the most popular destination for revealing Valentine's gifts at 40%, up from 35% last year. Consumers also plan to head to department stores (33%), discount stores (31%) and florists (17%).

Popular sweet treat
Chocolate is synonymous with the celebration of love, friendship and happiness. Feb. 14 is the third biggest holiday for chocolate and candy sales in the US. Just as Easter has chocolate bunnies, Christmas has candy canes, and Halloween has candy corn, the most romantic day of the year has its signature candies, like conversation hearts and heart-shaped chocolates.
One of the earliest references to chocolate as a gift for Valentine's Day dates back to the early 1600s when the Aztecs believed that the bitter drink made from cacao beans had aphrodisiac properties and would bring happiness and love. Recent studies show that women who eat chocolate are said to offer more desire for romance than those who don't.
Cadbury was the one who first invented the heart-shaped box of chocolates in 1861. Since then, it has become heavily commercialised. As of 2023, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year. This equates to 58 million pounds of chocolate.
But commercialism aside, the popularity of chocolate is undying. Truffles or bars, Belgian or Swiss and artisan chocolates - not to mention myriad flavours and edible designs - will exhilarate even the most discriminating palate in your partner and steal away their heart if it isn't yours. And given its association with happiness and decadent taste, gifting this confectionery on Valentine's Day seems an enticing choice. (Report by Rowena Burgos)

Image from Unsplash

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