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Retailers see fewer Nevadans celebrating Valentine’s Day

Updated February 13, 2019 - 12:34 pm

It may be the week of Valentine’s Day, but jeweler Dan Golceker said he doesn’t expect an abundance of shoppers to crowd his store.

His shop, Morgan Taylor Jewelers, offers heart-themed earrings, pendants and necklaces, but after nearly 40 years in the industry, Golceker said consumers’ interest in the holiday has dropped.

“Valentine’s Day has slowed down tremendously,” he said. “The numbers aren’t what they used to be.”

According to the Retail Association of Nevada, those intending to celebrate the holiday is expected to decrease about 5 percent in Nevada this year to 1.2 million consumers.

Dwindling interest

It’s not just Nevadans who are becoming disenchanted with the holiday. Nationally, a little more than half of Americans plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, compared to 63 percent in 2009.

“People have changed,” said John DiBella, owner of the downtown flower store DiBella Flowers & Gifts.

According to a report from the trade group National Retail Federation, a growing number of people consider Valentine’s Day over-commercialized. Others weren’t interested in the holiday or had nobody to celebrate with.

“Fewer people are celebrating, but the ones that are are spending a lot more money,” said Katherine Cullen, the director of industry and consumer insights at NRF.

Giving more

The average American is expected to spend about $162 this year for Valentine’s Day, a 57 percent jump from a decade prior.

“The nature of the holiday seems to be changing,” Cullen said. “It’s not just for celebrating your significant other.”

With the nation’s current economic standing, Cullen said people are buying more gifts for family members, teachers and coworkers this month.

“People have more discretionary income,” she said. “They’re buying for extra people and just want to express their appreciation.”

This allows more opportunities for retailers who aren’t in the typical chocolate, card and jewelry business. From Dunkin Donuts’ donut-themed weddings to Target’s themed dollar aisle, Cullen said more companies are pushing their products around the holiday.

“You don’t have to be a specialty flower shop or gift card company to participate,” Cullen said. “There are opportunities for businesses big and small.”

Pamela Jenkins, founder and owner of Cupcakery near Lake Mead Boulevard and North Tenaya Way, said Valentine’s Day is the shop’s busiest time of the year. She estimated the company sells upwards of 5,000 cupcakes that day, more than five times an average day.

“It’s a nice alternative to a box of chocolates,” she said.

Nevadans are expected to spend over $196 million this year on Valentine’s Day, according to RAN. (Wes RandLas Vegas Review-Journal)

Puppy love

Cullen said pet stores are seeing some of the highest sales jump during the Valentine’s Day season.

According to a 2019 survey from pet camera maker Petcube, 65 percent of pet owners will be getting a present for their pet this Valentine’s Day, while only 56 percent will be getting something for their partner.

NRF expects Valentine’s Day spending on pets to reach $886 million this year.

“Gifts for pets have more than doubled over the past 10 years,” Cullen said. “Pet ownership around millennials has grown, and millennials like to buy gifts for their pets.”

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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