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Proposals and More in Store This Valentine’s Day

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Cupid will hit the mark more often this year, as 14million Americans say they’re planning or expecting a marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day (12% vs. 9% in 2014), according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Regardless of whether or not wedding bells will ring, with the economy improving, more consumers say they’re willing to open their wallets for love: 76% of consumers plan to shell out money for the holiday (vs. 74% in 2014), spending an average of $296, almost 40% more than last year. Men in particular are putting more on the line, saying they’ll spend an average of $380, up 38% from last year, compared to women’s average outlay of $213; though a lower amount, still up 36% from 2014.

View/download the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

“With the economy improving, Americans say they’re feeling more comfortable with their finances, and this time of year, that translates to more proposals and presents for Valentine’s Day,” said David Rabkin, Senior Vice President of Consumer Lending Products, American Express. “Retailers and restaurants may see more traffic than last year, and male customers in particular say they’ll invest top dollar in the holiday, whether through gifts or shared experiences.”

While purchasing a gift is the most popular way Americans plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, couples will celebrate in a variety of ways. Notably, fewer are opting to stay home for a special meal (29%, down 11% from 2014), choosing instead to go out for a celebratory dinner (56%, up 5% from 2014).

This year, Americans couples celebrating Valentine’s Day will % change from 2014 Average amount spent % change from 2014
Purchase a gift 61% +2% $106 -10%
Go out to dinner 56% +5% $110 +33%
Go to movies 29% +20% $74 +53%
Prepare a special meal at home 29% -11% $52 +31%
Rent a movie 21% +32% $42 +104%
Hit a nightclub for drinks/dancing 17% +55% $80 -12%
Take a weekend getaway 18% +66% $286 -6%

Men up the Ante

More men are taking Valentine’s Day seriously; with nearly half saying the holiday is an important time to celebrate their relationship (49% vs. 35% in 2014). As more men place significance on the holiday, more women seem to be easing up, as only one third of women feel it’s an important day to celebrate their relationship (vs. 30% in 2014); instead, more women believe that Valentine’s Day is fun but not a major occasion (42% vs. 41% in 2014).

To commemorate the holiday, more than half of men will purchase a Valentine’s Day gift, up significantly from last year (56% vs. 49% in 2014). The most popular gifts men will buy their spouse/significant other include:

  • Flowers (56% vs. 54% in 2014)
  • Greeting card (48% vs. 57% in 2014)
  • Jewelry (27% vs. 24% in 2014)
  • Gift card (21% vs. 14% in 2014)

And whether it’s a fancy dinner or a fun flick, 57% of men report they will make all or most of the plans on Valentine’s Day (vs. 40% of women).

High Stakes with Steady Mates & First Dates

They say it takes two to tango, and money talk is no exception. Couples say they’re talking earlier in their relationship and more often about their financial habits: most report that their first conversations about finances happen less than 6 months after meeting (40% vs. 36% in 2014) or 6 to 12 months after meeting (27% vs. 24% in 2014).

Among couples living together, a partner’s most annoying financial habit is frivolous expenditures (22% vs. 21% in 2014), followed by not using coupons/rewards points (8% vs. 4% in 2014) and late payments (8% vs. 10%). For large purchases, couples report the magic number is $318 as the average amount for consulting a partner before you buy.

Finances are even top of mind as early as the first date. With Americans reporting $43 as the average amount spent on a first date, 49% of people say the man should pay (vs. 51% in 2014), followed by whoever asked for the date (31% vs. 30% in 2014). Fourteen percent believe the bill should be split (vs. 12% in 2014), and 1% say a woman should foot the bill (vs. 2% in 2014).

Some of the top financial deal breakers on a first date include:

  • Date contests bill (49%)
  • Date does not offer to pay for tab check (48%)
  • Date asks to split bill (40%)
  • Date tips under 15% (40%)

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,713 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity between January 15 and 18, 2015. The results have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.4l; and +/- 2.8 total couples (married or have a spouse, partner, or significant other) at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About American Express

American Express (NYSE:AXP) is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card.

About Ebiquity, Plc.

Ebiquity are independent marketing performance specialists. Ebiquity enables brands across the world to make better informed decisions to improve their brand and business performance across integrated communications channels. Learn more at

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