LPL Financial put out a sweet briefing on what lovebirds are buying on Tuesday and what they can expect to pay for these treats.
Valentine’s Day is the fourth-busiest shopping holiday of the year, according to the independent broker-dealer, which analyzed trends affecting popular holiday items.
What can shoppers expect in terms of prices in general?
Economists expect January prices were up 0.3% from December and 2.1% from a year ago, LPL analysts say.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, should come in at 2.2% year over year when it is reported later this week.
“These numbers are important, but of even more near-term importance for those still looking for the right gift is how much more expensive common Valentine’s Day gifts have become over the last year,” explained Chief Economic Strategist John Canally, CFA, and Shawn Doty, senior analyst, in their Valentine’s Day report.
Last-minute shoppers are in luck, they say, referring to items in LPL’s Valentine’s Day Index, which tracks the costs of several gift categories over time.
Overall, Valentine’s Day prices increased by less than 1% in 2016, which is less than the 15-year average of 1.95%, the analysts point out. “The rise was also slower than headline CPI (2.1%) and core inflation (2.2%),” they explained.
An evening at home — even with candy, flowers, a home-cooked meal and a bottle of wine or champagne — could be “the best bet for value conscious” sweethearts in 2017, according to LPL research.
After seven years of price increases, the cost of a night at home dropped 1% in 2016.
“This is only the third time the price of this gift category has fallen in the history of the index, and it also ranks as the largest single-year decline in 16 years,” said Canally and Doty.
Though all of the items in this “gift basket” dropped in price, it was the cost of food that was the biggest driver, falling more than 2%.
Dinner and a movie is a popular Valentine’s Day tradition, but this duo had a price increase of 2.6% in 2016.
Over the previous 15 years, this expense had an average yearly increase of more than 3%.