• PRINITHA GOVENDER

Are Australian Consumers Breaking Up With Valentine's Day?

Updated: Feb 14, 2019


As Valentine's Day looms, Australian retailers have gotten their promos and love deals ready for one of their busiest shopping periods, however this year may not be as rosy as previous years and we are expected to see quite a decline in V-Day retail spending in 2019. Are Australians breaking up with Valentine's Day?



Not quite. Purses are anticipated to loosen over the Valentine’s period, despite weak consumer confidence, according to new data from IBISWorld. Although we will see a decline in store spending, there will be an upturn in spending on experiences, especially among younger shoppers. It’s not surprising given the progression in our economy that sees Australians increasingly spending more on leisure and entertainment and less on “things”. Are we becoming less materialistic? It would certainly seem so.


In fact, it looks quite rosy from a relationship standpoint, with research indicating that Australians think that 14 February is more about gestures than gifts. Trust me, no-one ever bonded over a designer bag or a Cartier watch. Brought a smile to my face, yes, added some bling to my outfits, sure… do I love it? Absolutely... but what else. ME Bank’s latest Love and Money survey reveals that Australians are increasingly embracing the sentiment of experiences over things. According to the study, 81% of Australian couples think it’s the thought that counts, with only 56% of Aussies saying they will even celebrate the occasion this year.

Valentine's Day may have just surpassed its time in the sun.

From the looks, Valentine's Day may have just surpassed its time in the sun with years of oversaturated marketing and commercialisation of the day causing shoppers to be increasingly put off. Love isn’t about things. It’s about the thought, the gesture. And, it’s not about one day, it’s about a lifetime.


Australia isn’t alone when it comes backing off from V-Day in 2019. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation confirms that the number of Americans planning to celebrate Valentine's Day has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade, with around 50% of those surveyed saying they planned to celebrate it, down from two-thirds a decade ago.

If we’re talking love, things count for less. Experiences are everything.

But, the marketing hype continues around the day, and to be honest, I’m kind of cringing when I see an ad about spoiling your loved ones with things like heart shaped jewellery or chocolates. I’m a bit of a health nut so if you’re in the market to buy me a gift, stay clear from chocolates, and even at 13 years old, I never wore hearts. And the research indicates I’m not alone here. Hearts and chocolates aside, Australians are valuing experiences more than things, and if we’re talking love, that would certainly be the way to go - things count for less. Experiences are everything.


Based on the research, I expected that consumers this year will prioritise creating memories through experiences and outings over traditional presents and spending will increase towards hotels, restaurants and other leisure and entertainment activities. Of course, some will still splurge on traditional gifts like jewellery and flowers, however with the rise in health concerns associated with diabetes and weight, I predict people will pull back on gifts like chocolates and cupcakes.


With all that said, there’s nothing wrong with being spendy on your loved one. If I’m going to be honest, I love being spoilt, but to do this you don’t have to wait for 14th February. You can do it anytime, any day, when you you feel inspired to. In fact, that’ll probably be the perfect timing for it, in the perfect moment with the perfect sentiment attached.


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