Digital messages, proposals expected to rise on Valentine's Day

NEW YORK Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:37am IST

Workers prepare vases of red roses at Winston Flowers in Boston, Massachusetts February 13, 2013, the day before Valentine's Day. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Workers prepare vases of red roses at Winston Flowers in Boston, Massachusetts February 13, 2013, the day before Valentine's Day.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Not everyone will be struck by Cupid's arrow on Valentine's Day, but for the many people who are, they will be popping the question and proposing to their loved one, according to a new survey.

Six million Americans are expecting or planning a marriage proposal on Valentine's Day, two million more than last year, and the average price of a ring to seal the deal will be $2,410, data from American Express showed.

"As the economy is picking up people are starting to be more optimistic and things like proposals and getting engaged, and taking that next life step, are more topical," said Melanie Backs, the manager of public affairs at American Express.

Backs said the number of expected proposals is a significant boost from last year.

"We were surprised, a little bit, that optimism is reigning on Valentine's Day, especially since the number of people saying they will be spending on the day is down this year," Backs said.

Although fewer people will be buying Valentine gifts this year - 69 percent compared to 76 percent in 2012 - those who are expected to spend about $239, up from $196 last year.

"Couples are spending more this year and they are driving the majority of the spending," said Backs.

Men will be a bit more generous than women, spending an average of $272, while women will be more economical.

TRUE ROMANCE OR OVERRATED HOLIDAY

Most people will buy a card for their Valentine but 32 percent of up to 2,000 adults questioned in the poll said they would opt for flowers, 17 percent were planning to buy jewelry and only 21 percent would give a gift card or cash.

Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and red roses will be in abundance, but not everyone feels romantic about the day.

Slightly more than 30 percent of women think it is overrated and 34 consider it a fun holiday but not a major occasion. Only 35 percent believe it is an important day for their relationship.

In line with the digital times, 62 percent of people said they would use technology or social media to express their love on Valentine's Day.

Romantic texts and postings or messages are expected to be the most popular electronic way of saying "I love you," followed by email and eCards.

Seven percent of people planned to express their love in 140 characters or less in a heartfelt tweet.

"This idea of romance and expressing yourself is a little bit more public than it might have been in the past when it was just between two people," said Backs.

"We're proclaiming everything else in our day-to-day lives on social media and love is not different."

Another topic that people seem to be more open about discussing is finance and money. Nearly 44 percent of unmarried couples said they were talking about finances within six months of meeting each other, which was jump from 29 percent last year.

"We saw a significant boost there," said Backs. "It seems that people are a lot more open about discussing the topic." (Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy)

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