In 2008, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers spent $17 billion on Valentine's Day. Last year, that number dropped to $14.7 billion.
At the time, Tracy Mullin, president of NRF, said, "A bad economy won't stop Cupid this Valentine's Day, but it might slow him down. This year more than ever, consumers will look for creative and inexpensive ways to show those they love how much they mean to them."
Now, one year later and coming up on another Valentine's Day, will consumers be more likely to spend on their dear hearts or will they forego fine dining at a French restaurant for a special reservation-only trip for two to White Castle.
The New York Times reports that marketers are working under the premise that consumers will be looking to show they care on the cheap, once again, and are running ads and promotions that emphasize affordability.
Back to the White Castle reference, the company's website invites consumers to call selected restaurants and reserve a candle lit table for two where they will be served by staff. Patrons can even upload their photos to the White Castle website for all to see. A meal for two that comes with 10 hamburgers, two orders of fries and two 21-ounce sodas will cost $10.49.
Other offers, cited by the Times, include Valentine's-themed candies at Target for $3.99; 15 percent off Martha Stewart brand flowers at 1-800-Flowers.com; and 20 percent off Figi's chocolates and cookies at Walgreens.com.
Discussion Questions: Do you think consumers will loosen their purse strings this Valentine's Day? What types of promotions do you think will work best this year and are there you've seen that stand out for being good or bad?
Do you expect consumers to spend more or less on Valentine's Day this year?