Lovers are expected to splurge more on Valentine's Day this year

Love birds to spend $19.6 billion on Valentine's Day, up 3.8% from a year earlier

They say love is priceless, but shopping for Valentine's Day certainly is not. Consumers are expected to spend $19.6 billion to celebrate the holiday this year, up 3.8% from 2014.

A better job market and lower gas prices are boosting the ability to splurge on loved ones, according to a report from research company IBISWorld. The holiday also falls on a Saturday this year, giving couples time for a weekend trip or more elaborate celebrations.

The average American will drop $139.70 on chocolates, flowers and other gifts, up from $134.56 in 2014, IBISWorld said.

The biggest chunk of Valentine's Day spending -- nearly $10 billion -- will go to a restaurant meal with a special someone. That is followed by romantic getaways ($2.6 billion) and candy ($2.1 billion). Spending on jewelry is expected to grow at the quickest pace, up 5.6% to $1.6 billion.

Although many Americans are waiting longer to get married, that does not put a damper on enthusiasm for the holiday of roses and champagne, the report said.

"Young couples are eager to impress their significant other," it noted, "and often do not have children to impede on grandiose plans involving travel."

Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ByShanLi

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