Valentine's Day

Love is in the air and lines are out the door this Valentine’s Day at The Oaks Mall. Bill Volkmer was one of many shoppers carrying bags topped with ribbons and bows.

The 55-year-old retiree bought $1,200 of jewelry for his wife, and his spending has only gone up over the years.

“I’m just so lucky to have her,” he said “I feel luckier every year.”

Randy Senti, 20, said his girlfriend’s happiness matters more than anything, so the UF electrical engineering junior is spending more than $200 for his girlfriend.

Senti’s spending is consistent with survey results released by the National Retail Federation and conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The survey shows that the average U.S. consumer is expected to spend $196.31 this holiday, and total nationwide spending is expected to be more than $27.4 billion.

“It’s a day where you really have to express how much you care,” Senti said. “It’s important to do something special.”

Valentine’s Day is the busiest day out of the year at The Flower Shop, located at 3749 W University Ave. On Valentine’s Day, the shop generates about a month’s worth of sales, said Terri Parker, the flower shop’s owner.

This year has been especially good for rose growers, with rose prices increasing from $70 during the year to about $100 on Valentine’s Day. A typical customer at her shop spends $100 or more on flowers during Valentine’s Day, Parker said. 

The spending survey has been done monthly for the past 17 years, said Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy at Prosper Insights & Analytics. He said it is the largest ongoing monthly consumer study, surveying 7,500 Americans on average monthly, which has above-average respondents for a research study.

The survey had a sample size of 7,267 respondents from the U.S. and was collected by email from Jan. 2 to Jan. 9, Rist said. The people surveyed are anonymous and adjusted proportionately to census statistics to accurately represent the country’s population. 

“Our data has been highly predictive over the years,” he said.

The survey also found that 27 percent of respondents plan to purchase a gift for their pet. 

Aliana Dupuis, 20, is buying high-quality wet food, treats and catnip for her cats, Echo and Coal.  

Her cats show their appreciation for her with affection, the UF business administration junior said.  

“I know they don’t know it’s Valentine’s Day,” Dupuis said. “I like to spoil them anyway.”

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Randy Senti. The Alligator originally reported differently.