Lovers pick premium this Valentine's Day

05 February, 2014

This Valentine's Day, smitten couples will splash out on fine dining and premium floral arrangements to celebrate their union, say business information analysts at IBISWorld.

According to IBISWorld, Australians will spend approximately $791.4 million in anticipation of February 14, up a marginal 1.8 per cent from last year. IBISWorld general manager (Australia) Karen Dobie said the average person will spend $86 on their partner with most people looking to lavish their loved ones with something a little more luxurious this year, rather than run-of-the-mill greeting cards, confectionery and flowers.

"Premium items are at the top of the agenda this year as Valentine's Day becomes more entrenched in Australia", said Dobie. "And for those unable to splurge on a romantic getaway or dinner at a hatted restaurant, there will be opportunities to go the extra mile by purchasing premium chocolates and a dozen red roses rather than a mixed bouquet from the local servo."

Favouring fine fare

Tables for two will be a sought-after option this Valentine's Day, as Australia's love affair with fine dining shows little sign of abating and demand for reservations at high-end restaurants continues to increase.

"Dining is expected to be the clear winner this year, with consumers favouring a close and intimate dining experience that's been arranged well in advance," said Dobie. "And given the popularity of current reality television programs, such as My Kitchen Rules, establishments with celebrity chef endorsements will be popular picks for those trying to impress their nearest and dearest."

In total, IBISWorld estimates Australians will spend $42.3 million on eating out on February 14 – up a vigorous 24.4 per cent from last year.

Something sparkly

The jewellery sector has grown in recent years due to an increase in the variety in jewellery and accessories available, indicating diamonds may not be a girl's best friend after all.

Dobie said some sweethearts dreaming of bangles, bracelets or baubles on February 14 may be in with a chance, with spending on jewellery and accessories forecast to grow by a healthy 9.2 per cent to $40.5 million in 2014 – an increase of $3.4 million from 2013.

A lover's tryst

Moonlight rendezvous by the pier, strolls along the beach and champagne picnics in the park are likely to increase in favour this year, suggesting good news for the domestic tourism sector. Couples are expected to take advantage of Valentine's Day falling on a Friday to enjoy an extended weekend break at a country or coastal bed and breakfast, city hotel or rural retreat.

International jaunts, however, are expected to decline due to the increasingly precarious Australian dollar.

"Couples will spend $441.6 million on romantic getaways this Valentine's Day, up 0.9 per cent from last year", said Dobie. "And while less couples will be travelling overseas, many are expected to take advantage of the ongoing additional capacity created by the fierce rivalry between Australia's domestic carriers, which has resulted in an increase in seats and a decline in prices."

Frillies are out of favour

IBISWorld forecasts only marginal growth in clothing and lingerie spending this Valentine's Day, with total spending expected to increase by 2.2 per cent to $68.2 million.

"Lingerie and clothing have been losing momentum as Valentine's Day favourites for a number of years, perhaps due to a combination of their relatively high cost and the difficulty in finding a surprise for your loved one that they will like and fit into without causing offence and dampening the mood", said Dobie.

"Conversely, online providers, especially those offering a gift wrapping service, will likely experience an increase in traffic in anticipation of Valentine's Day, broadly in line with the increasing fortunes of online retailing", added Dobie.

Sweet enough, unless it is gourmet

Spending on chocolates and confectionery is expected to decline by a substantial 7.1 per cent this Valentine's Day – with the exception of premium product lines, which continue to grow in both variety and popularity.

"In line with the premiumisation of this category, fair trade and organic chocolates are becoming increasingly popular with socially conscious consumers", said Dobie. "And as a result of the raft of new ranges available, IBISWorld expects increasing competition from supermarket-brand gourmet chocolates and other high-end own brand treats."

The perennial choice goes premium

For florists, February 14 remains one of the busiest and most important days on the calendar – generating ten per cent of total annual sales for the industry. IBISWorld forecasts that spending on flowers will remain relatively stable in 2014, with modest growth of 3.4 per cent. Premium floral arrangements and gift baskets will lead the charge in delivering profit and sales growth for the category versus the stalwart cellophane-wrapped mixed bouquet of yesteryear.