Thursday focus: Shopping life
I love you – for less.
That’s what most consumers will tell their honeys this economically challenged Valentine’s Day. Savvy retailers are responding with all sorts of discounts and special deals – many of which expire Friday – aimed at nudging early online purchases.
Some are shouting, “Free shipping.” Others are touting substantial discounts – up to 25 percent. Even chichi brands such as Tiffany and Godiva are on board.
Most Valentine’s gifts are bought at the last minute, says Thomas Hine, author of “I Want That! How We All Became Shoppers.”
“So offers like these appeal to people who want to feel more responsible,” Hine said.
Which is most of us.
By the numbers: Chocolate is a stimulating treat, and Americans spend enough on it each year to make it a stimulus package of its own.
The total value of shipments in 2006 for firms producing chocolate and cocoa products was $13.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. That was pre-recession, though, but we’re betting chocolate will be one of the last little luxuries people are willing to surrender.
By comparison, manufacturing of nonchocolate confectionery products was a $7.2 billion industry in 2006, the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufactures found. So that proves chocolate’s dominance, as if it weren’t obvious.
With Valentine’s Day just two days off, you’re probably starved for some delicious chocolate-dipped factoids on the sweetest unofficial holiday of love. We have your truffles of truth right here:
•24.5 pounds: Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2007.
•20,227: The number of florists nationwide in 2006.
•$416 million: The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers in 2007 for all flower-producing operations with $100,000 or more in sales.
•$2.6 billion: Value of jewelry and merchandise sold in February 2008 at roughly 28,000 jewelry stores.
•2.2 million: Marriages that took place in the U.S. in 2007, or a little more than 6,000 a day.
•8: Average length, in years, of first marriages ending in divorce.
•6: The percentage of married women who have been married for at least 50 years.
Staff and wire reports