cost of love

The Cost Of Love: The Lucrative Market For Love And Lust

Love can be an amazing thing. Research shows it can lower our rate of depression, increase our overall health, and lengthen our life spans. From a financial perspective, however, love can also be extremely costly (or lucrative depending on your perspective).

It may seem a bit shallow to look at our significant others through a financial lens–and rest unassured–it is. But the fact of the matter is, love can, and does, cost couples a pretty penny every year–especially in America.

But, what exactly is the cost of love? While the emotional impact may be hard to quantify (calculating how many times one listens to “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey is probably a good start) the finances can be whittled down to cold hard facts.

Get your checkbooks ready–below are four facts that show that love (and lust) can be costly.

1. Americans expected to spend nearly $19 billion this Valentine’s Day

Yes, that’s billions with a B. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans are projected to spend an NRF survey high, $18.9 billion this Valentine’s Day.

That number equates to about $142 per person spending. The items on which that money is spent include the usual list of Valentine’s Day suspects like candy, flowers, apparel, etc.

When broken down, some more specific Valentine’s Day costs include:

  • 58 million pounds of chocolate purchased the week of Valentine’s Day
  • $8.6 million spent on sparkling wine
  • $1.7 billion spent on candy

cost of love

Also notable is the discrepancy between average male and female spending on Valentine’s Day, which averages about $150 for men, and around $74 on average for women.

You may use the aforementioned information at your own risk, of course.

2. In 2012, couples jointly spent $11 billion on diamond engagement rings and wedding jewelry

According to The New York Times, this  $11 billion expenditure equates to an average of $4,000 spent per couple in 2012–a 25 percent decrease from 2006 (before the financial crisis) when couples spent about $5,300.

Conversely, however, studies show that big spending on engagement rings does not equate to increased happiness.

According to a study by professors at Emory University, those who spent $2,000-$4,000 were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than those who spent $500-$2,000.

3. The average wedding costs about $30,000

According to marriage monitoring website TheKnot, which surveyed about 13,000 brides across the U.S. in 2013, the average cost of weddings has risen to a survey high $30,000.

This cost varies greatly depending on where exactly one is getting married. For example, in Manhattan the average wedding costs about $87,000 whereas in Idaho the average wedding only costs about $17,000.

Current size estimates of the American wedding industry are totaled at around $50 billion.

4. Romance novels sell over $1 billion per year

If you’re thinking about bursting onto the novelist scene, boy have we got the genre for you. According to Romance Writers of America, romance novel sales exceeded $1 billion in 2013.

Also noteworthy: 84 percent of such sales were to females. Meaning, next time your girlfriend tells you you’re not being romantic enough, she’s probably right.

5. The sex toy industry grosses over $15 billion in sales

cost of love

Love isn’t the only thing that sells, lust industries like the sex toy market grossed over $15 billion in sales in 2013–a number that is apparently recession proof and only trending upwards.

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James Pero