What? No Lingerie For Valentine’s Day?!

According to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker Survey, more people are planing on buying Valentine’s Day gifts this year:

This year, more than half of consumers (54% vs. 41% in 2011) plan to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts, and it’s back to basics across the board. The most popular tokens of affection among couples include flowers (29%), gift cards (19%), jewelry (15%) and electronics (13%). And consumers aren’t just gifting; 46% intend to visit their favorite restaurants to celebrate the holiday (up from 39% last year).

Conspicuously absent from the list of “basic” gifts for the holiday is lingerie. How can that be?

I’m about to see red! Not just because I’m a lingerie lover, but because it just doesn’t make sense — or cents, either.

While IBISWorld analysts have predicted a 0.6% sales decline in lingerie this year (at least for Australians), the marketing research company has previously broken-down Valentine’s Day spending as follows:

47.4% accounts for dining out, 13.9% candy, 11.6% romantic getaways, 8.5% flowers, 7.8% jewelry, 6.3% clothing and lingerie, and 4.4% greeting cards.

Even with the predicted less than one percent loss, lingerie (and clothing) beats out greeting cards. Using rough figures, 6% of 15.7 billion equals $942,000,000!

In fact, many retailers consider Valentine’s Day lingerie purchases as important to their bottom lines as the holiday (Christmas) season, as The Star reports:

cosmetic surgeons, dentists, marriage counsellors, online dating services, even divorce lawyers all report an uptick in business in the weeks leading up to Feb. 14, a day that’s second only to Christmas in importance for many retailers.

Most confusing of all to me is eBay’s reaction to the American Express survey. In the marketplace giant’s suggested holiday tips for affiliates (of which I am one), there were the following suggestions for sales promotions:

For Her

Like it or not, jewelry and Valentine’s Day go hand-in-hand. Score some low-commitment bling for her in the form of funky earrings or a sweet necklace. If you’re one of the millions of couples who will go from dating to engaged over the holiday, eBay offers a great range of diamond rings in a variety of prices and styles. Not quite there yet? Handbags, wine or a thoughtful book are safe selections.

For Him

Though it might not sound overly romantic, 13 percent of those in a relationship plan to purchase electronics like an iPad or a digital camera, according to the American Express survey. You could also consider snagging a fashionable fella a nice shirt or jacket for the office or the social scene. And don’t forget that guys like jewelry, too – try an attractive watch so he’ll have no excuse for showing up late for another date.

Date Night

eBay is also a fantastic resource for couples looking to get out of the house and enjoy a night on the town. Gift cards for dinner, events and even flowers can be found, with prices usually well below retail.

Forgetting for a minute that there’s a man who wants a shirt for himself over lingerie for a lover, there’s a whole lot of sexism in those gift tips for Valentine’s Day.

Suggesting men want the tech gadget gifts and the women don’t is worse than sexist; it’s contrary to market data which clearly shows that the average man spends more than twice as much as the average woman.

I can only truly speak for myself, of course, but please eschew the book (however thoughtful) and get me lingerie. Or at least pair the book (or — for me — a digital SLR camera) with lovely lingerie. I expect it on this of all holidays!

Red vintage lingerie shown here available on eBay: Vintage Charmode nylon tricot full-slip with accordion pleating, vintage Rodgers full-cut nylon tricot panties, vintage Parklane flat knit sheer nylon stockings (more than one pair!), vintage Gossard Artemis nightgown with white floral appliques, and a vintage red lace peignoir.

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