Vibrant bouquets and sweet treats are high on the agenda for Australians purchasing Valentine’s Day gifts this year, with $485 million to be splashed out as couples celebrate their first restriction-free day of love in three years.
According to a survey conducted by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan, the statistic reflects an increase of 16.9 per cent year-on-year, with people set to spend an average of $118 on gifts for their partners.
Flowers are the top pick for 42 per cent of lovers, followed by chocolates/food (29 per cent), sex toys/other toys (seven per cent) and dining out/getaways (seven per cent).
Romantics in New South Wales are forecast to spend $155 million on their gifts, while Victorians will splash out $105 million and Queenslanders $85 million.
Australians aged 18-34 are set to spend the most, forking out $215 million on presents – a figure that is 53 per cent higher than for couples aged 35-49.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the ‘freedom spending’ phenomenon has resurfaced as couples celebrate their first restriction-free Valentine’s Day since 2020.
“For couples who have begun a relationship in the last three years – this will be the first opportunity for them to celebrate Valentine’s Day without limitations,” Zahra said.
“Flowers remain the go-to gift, cementing their status as a staple of the Valentine’s Day experience. They’re a sentimental token of love and affection that can be customised and tailored to fit any budget.
“The supply of flowers has been at the mercy of weather events and pandemic-driven supply chain disruptions in recent years, but we expect those issues will be somewhat lessened this year.”
Despite the economic headwinds, 64 per cent of respondents to the ARA-Roy Morgan survey said they will spend the same amount of money on a gift as a year ago, with a quarter of lovey-dovey Australians actually planning to spend more.
The news comes almost a month after the ARA released figures in partnership with Westpac DataX showing that Australian shoppers defied expectations during the pre-Christmas season, spending a record $74.5 billion.
The result reflects an 8.6 per cent year-on-year increase, which is in line with a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report that found retail trading rose 7.5 per cent during the same period.
However, the ABS also noted retail turnover dropped 3.9 per cent month-on-month in December, marking the only fall for the entirety of 2022.
A similar drop of 3.7 per cent was recorded between November 2021 and December 2021 – a period that saw retail trading sales go from $33.3 million to $32 million.
“The large fall in December suggests that retail spending is slowing due to high cost-of-living pressures,” ABS head of retail statistics Ben Dorber said.
“Retail businesses reported that many consumers had responded to these pressures by doing more Christmas shopping in November to take advantage of heavy promotional activity and discounting as part of the Black Friday sales event.”
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