Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, red roses, romantic dinners and poetic greeting cards are just a few of the ways millions of Americans will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this Sunday. Here are some interesting Valentine’s Day facts from a few of the library’s databases and some other industry experts:
Sales are Looking Rosy
In 2009, a Mintel consumer survey found that the average per-person expenditure for Valentine’s Day was $102.50. 1 According to industry research firm IBISWorld, total Valentine’s Day spending (measured for seven categories – Dining Out, Romantic Getaway, Greeting Cards, Clothing & Intimate Apparel, Candy, Jewelry, Flowers) is anticipated to increase 3.3% over last year to $17.6 billion dollars this year. 2
Please Mr. Postman
Although Valentine’s Day cards date back to the 1400s in Europe, Massachusetts native Esther Howland can be credited with being the first American publisher of Valentine cards in the 1840s. Her paper lace cards fetched from $5 to $10 (and you thought today’s greeting cards were expensive)! 3 According to the Greeting Card Association, Valentine’s Day is now the second most popular card-giving occasion (after Christmas), with an estimated 190 million Valentine’s Days cards being exchanged this year (over 1 billion if you count school-children’s classroom Valentine exchanges). 4
Love is Sweet
Candy conversation hearts galore! According to market research firm Mintel, the National Retail Foundation reports that after cards (58%), candy is the top Valentine’s Day gift (48%). In fact, in 2007, Valentine’s Day candy sales reached $83 million.5 The U.S. Census reports that the per capita candy consumption by Americans in 2008 was 23.8 pounds. 6 (This fact is not surprising, considering how quickly our office candy bowl gets emptied!)
Happy Valentine’s Day from the Staff of the Bentley Library!
 “Holiday Shopping – US – June 2009″. Mintel Oxygen database. 2009. Web. 11 Feb. 2010. <http://academic.mintel.com>
 “Holiday Shopping – US – June 2009″. Mintel Oxygen database. 2009. Web. 11 Feb. 2010. <http://academic.mintel.com>.