Research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), in conjunction with Roy Morgan, revealed individuals will be spending an average amount of $118 each on gifts for their loved ones. 

The bulk of the spending is set to be done by 18-34 year olds, who’ll spend $215 million, followed by 35-49-year olds who will spend $140 million.

Of the 4,641 respondents, 42% said they would buy their other half flowers while chocolates/food (29%), sex toys/other toys (7%), and dining out/getaways (7%) are other popular gifts of choice.

Consumers in NSW are predicted to spend $155 million on their Valentine’s Day gifts, with Victorians to spend $105 million and Queenslanders $85 million.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the ‘freedom spending’ phenomenon has resurfaced as couples celebrate their first lockdown-free Valentine’s Day since 2020.

“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,” Mr Zahra said.

“Sensory indulgence is certainly a theme this year, with dining, getaways and sex toys rounding out the top gifts.

“Other hot ticket items include watches, lingerie and Airpods. One of the notable gifts recorded was a $350,000 Lamborghini – someone’s going to have a great Valentine’s Day.”

Despite the rising cost of living, 89% of the respondents said they will spend either more (25%) or the same (64%) as a year ago.

Be aware: romance scams are lurking

Aussies looking for love are being warned to remain vigilant for scammers, with recent Westpac data revealing the cost of romance scams increased 26% in 2022.

Romance scams involve criminals posing as sweethearts in search of love and approaching people on dating apps, social media platforms, or text messages.

Australians lost more than $142 million to romance scams in 2021, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Westpac Head of Fraud Ben Young said fraudsters are adopting a new hybrid romance and investment scam approach, driving the spike in losses.

“Scammers are using a new technique called ‘romance baiting’ to meet victims through online dating apps to develop a relationship before luring them into a fake investment opportunity,” Mr Young said.

“These scams are challenging because they will groom victims over a number of weeks or months to obtain information and build trust. 

“Never send money to someone you haven’t met in-person or spoken to via video call and always seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.”

NAB Executive Group Investigations and Fraud Chris Sheehan provided some advice on how to spot a scammer from a potential partner.

“It’s important to ask lots of questions of your would-be Romeo or Juliet,” Mr Sheehan said.

“Scammers prefer to talk about you instead of themselves, so look for inconsistencies in their stories and speak to family and friends about the relationship.

“You can also do a reverse image search of photos you’re sent on a search engine like Google or TinEye to see if they’ve been used on other platforms or linked to other names online.”


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