13 Feb 2016 21:27 IST

Let every day be a Valentine’s, it helps you and the economy

Researchers have found a co-relation between increased spending on February 14 and prosperity in life

Go ahead, and spend for your love this Valentine’s Day weekend. Splurge on her/him. You might have to spend a bomb, but it shows that you are going the right way.

Really?

Researchers in the US have found co-relation between increased spending on February 14, year after year, and prosperity in life. An upward trend in the spending means that the relationship is going great; and people tend to do professionally better when their love life is doing well.

Interestingly, this year consumer spending on the big day is expected to touch a record $19.7 billion in the US. The study, by the National Retail Federation, says that Americans will spend about a billion dollars more than last year.

In India too, the numbers are impressive. Last year, says a report by Assocham, online shopping for the Valentine’s Day was expected to cross ₹22,000 crore. It was up by 22 per cent from 2014.

Guess what, some of the consumer spending patterns are similar in India and the US, and probably globally. For instance, take chivalry. Giftease.com, an Indian gifting portal, did a study and concluded that men spend more than women every February 14. While in India, the men spent ₹740 on an average on gifts, against ₹670 for women; in the US, comparable figures were $196 for men, almost double that of the women’s $99.

Cards and roses

So what do they spend on? In India, the men bank on the traditional favourites – flowers and chocolates. In the US too, it is similar – flowers, candy and cards. Women in India, though, are more tech-savvy; and a third of them gift their men gadgets.

Not surprisingly, lovers all over the world are switching to online shopping. Convenience and discounts play a big role. According to Assocham, 40 million Valentine customers shopped on websites such as Flipkart and SnapDeal in 2014 and, by 2015, the number grew by more than half to 65 million. With the young driving the Valentine economy, India’s demographic profile augurs well for the industry in the coming years.

Many of the industries in the gifting sector depend heavily on this day. Companies selling greeting cards and local florists derive at least 10 per cent of their annual turnover from Valentine’s Day. And this year, the love season is seeing a better harvest. India’s rose exporters’ volume increased by 10 per cent, from 17 million stems in February 2015, to 19 million stems this year.

Global impact

This is one festival that has a global impact. Not just India’s rose exporters, but confectioners in Japan too look forward to this day. Interestingly, in Japan, it is mostly the women who gift the men chocolates on February 14. The day’s sales make up almost half of the $5-billion annual revenue of confectioners in the country.

Though it has a liturgical legacy, one could count Valentine’s Day almost as a secular festival. It has a global impact, both economically and socially. One is tempted to even call it a global economic stimulus. In India too, with the economy unpredictable and the Sensex on a free fall, the policymakers would be left wishing that Cupid had a few more of these days through the year.