ROMANCE is suffering in Spain as hard-up couples this year cut back on Valentine's Day gifts due to the economic crisis, according to an opinion poll.
A total 48 percent of adults did not buy any presents for their sweethearts yesterday, said a survey by a Spanish consumer federation, FUCI.
That is sharply up from 5.0 percent in 2008, before the country slumped into recession, 24 percent in 2009 and 40 percent in 2010, FUCI said in a statement.

Of those who did buy a Valentine's Day present yesterday, 72 percent said they spent less because of the crisis, the poll said.

It said 51 percent of those who gave gifts bought flowers, 33 percent chocolates, 2.0 percent jewellery and 9.0 percent clothing or accessories. “The fact that increasingly fewer consumers are offering gifts to their partners on days like this is a direct result of the economic crisis, higher unemployment and higher fuel prices and basic services ... which have reduced purchasing power to a minimum,” said the head of FUCI, Agustina Laguna yesterday.

The Spanish economy plunged into recession during the second half of 2008 as the global financial meltdown compounded the collapse of the once-booming property market.

It emerged with meagre growth rates in the first half of last year, but posted a contraction of 0.1 percent for all of 2010.
Spain also finished 2010 with the highest unemployment rate in the industrialised world at 20.33 percent with the rate even higher in the Balearics.
FUCI questioned 1'000 adults throughout the country for the poll.