This Valentine’s Day might best be remembered for two things in particular. One, for the first time in 153 years, candy lovers won’t be able to pick up a box of Sweethearts, those classic heart-shaped candies bearing sweet nothings like “BE MINE” and “CRAZY 4 U.” And two, consumers are set to spend more than $20 billion on Valentine’s gifts for the first time ever, thanks in part to a surge in gold jewelry demand—specifically, yellow gold.
Regarding Sweethearts, they’ll be missing from store shelves this year because the candy’s manufacturer, Necco, sadly went bankrupt last May. But never fear! Its new owner, Spangler Candy Company—maker of Dum Dums lollipops—could bring them back as soon as next year.
As for Valentine’s Day spending, what I find interesting is that it continues to grow even as the number of people who admit to celebrating the holiday has been on the decline for years now, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). It’s estimated that Americans will shell out an all-time high of $20.7 billion this year, easily topping the previous record of $19.7 billion set in 2016.
The increase in spending, I believe, can largely be attributed to the Love Trade, which is all about gold’s timeless role as a treasured gift. Of the $20.7 billion, an estimated 18 percent, or $3.9 billion, will be spent on jewelry alone, much of it featuring gold, silver and other precious metals and minerals.