Australian consumers are tipped to shell out an average of $43.61 on someone special this Valentine’s Day, with travel and accommodation spending expected to top the list for the romantic occasion.
An IBISworld forecast predicts Australians will spend $1.09 billion on February 14 this year, with more than half of the sales boost, or $621.3 million, expected to come from couples looking to get away for the holiday by spending cash on travel and accommodation.
Australians are tipped to spend approximately $89.7 million on clothing and lingerie for the occasion, while those selling chocolate or confectionery ($132 million) and flowers ($123 million) should also see their takings swell.
IBISWorld estimates $52.7 million will be spent on Valentine’s Day dinners, while shoppers will fork out $53.6 million on jewellery and accessories. A further $19.9 million is expected to spent on greeting cards.
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However, IBISworld senior analyst Nathan Cloutman expects Valentine’s Day spending this year will be lower than 2017 “due to weak discretionary incomes and volatile consumer sentiment, which is causing consumers to scale back on spending”.
Bao Vuong, another analyst at IBISworld tells SmartCompany spending on flowers and dining has dropped per capita in comparison to previous years due to this sentiment.
“Instead of going to fine dining, [consumers] will more likely go to mid-tier trendy establishments that cost less,” Vuong says.
“Flowers sales are estimated to have declined this year due to the low-discount, mass market products available.”
When preparing the estimates, Vuong says the researchers only took into consideration the more traditional gifts offered at Valentine’s Day. The estimates, therefore, do not include more modern versions of romance such as a Netflix subscription or take away pizza if couples plan to spend a night in.
Not all love letters have good intentions
With plenty of cash changing hands in the lead up to the romantic day, consumers and business owners alike have been warned about not getting swept up in sales and urged to take caution when checking their emails for exclusive Valentine’s Day offers.
Valentine’s Day can be prime time for scammers, says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which received 3700 reports of romance scams in 2017, totalling $20.7 million.
In 2017, there was a 30% increase in reported losses from social media scams compared to the previous year, with a combined $9.7 million reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch.
In a statement, ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said social media has now surpassed online dating websites as the most common channel scammers use to contact potential victims.
“If you’re going on social media, a dating site or app to find a potential Mr or Ms Right, it’s important to keep your guard up to a scammer’s advances,” she said.