This year, Americans will spend $18.6 billion for Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of heart-shaped chocolate boxes spreading a lot of happiness. Chocolate has been popular for ages; it was considered a “food for the Gods” by the Aztecs, who considered chocolate so valuable that it could be traded like gold. When Columbus was in America, he liked chocolate so much that he took some back to Queen Isabella. By the 17th Century, chocolate was already trending throughout Europe and chocolate houses were popping up all over. And while Queen Victoria made Valentine’s Day more popular, the association between chocolate and Valentine’s Day was fostered by a clever retailer who was trying to sell more chocolate: Cadbury. Cadbury came out with a heart-shaped chocolate in 1861 and the connection between love, Valentine’s Day, and chocolate was formed. In the early 1900s, Hallmark began printing Valentine’s Day cards.

According to the National Retail Federation:

  • • The average person will spend $131 on Valentine’s Day.
  • • Men outspend women; men spend an average of $175.61 and women $88.78.
  • • The most popular gift for Valentine’s Day is a card.
  • • Candy is a close second, followed by flowers.
  • • We’ll also spend more than $4 billion on jewelry for Valentine’s Day.

And a study by HBR has revealed that single men and women spend more for Valentine’s Day than married men and women.

If you’re looking for something a little different than the standard chocolate, all you have to do is look around. From heart-shaped pizzas to heart-shaped bricks of cheese, all kinds of products are getting in on the holiday. If you live in Santa Clara, you can even get a bouquet of ice cream roses for the one you love.

While Valentine’s Day remains a lover’s holiday, I still believe that love belongs in business, too. Professional relationships blossom more fully when there is true caring involved.