Valentine’s shift: Aussies prefer experiences over gifts – ANZ

Learn how love is being celebrated in innovative ways

Valentine’s shift: Aussies prefer experiences over gifts – ANZ


By Mina Martin

Australian couples are finding new ways to celebrate love, shifting from traditional gifts to experiences and getaways, according to ANZ's latest customer spending data.

Sweta Mehra (pictured above), managing director of everyday banking at ANZ, highlighted a 9% increase in spending during the fortnight leading up to Valentine's Day compared to the previous year, despite economic challenges including a significant inflation rise.

Experiences hot this Valentine’s

"Experiences were ‘in,’” Mehra said, with spending in the “entertainment” category, including such as movies, concerts, and dining out, up 12% to $172.9 million.

The ANZ data also showed a remarkable boost in travel-related expenditures, with airline (+120%) and airport (+168%) spending surging alongside a more than 200% increase in duty-free shopping. Spending on hotels, inns, and resorts increased by 11% to $89.2m.

Conversely, traditional Valentine’s gifts like flowers and jewelry saw a decline in spending. ANZ customers reduced their spending on florists, nursery supplies, and flower businesses by 9%, totalling $16.8m, while expenditures on precious stones and jewelry decreased by 3% to $25.8m.

A romantic state of mind

In the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, Victorian customers led the charge with the highest overall spending of $1.12 billion, including the largest amount on dining out at $98.3 million. New South Wales and Queensland followed closely with overall expenditures of $1.06 billion and $0.78 billion, respectively. However, the most significant year-on-year spending growth was observed in Western Australia, with a 12% increase, and South Australia, rising by 11%.

A different kind of Valentine

With the concept of “Galentine's Day” gaining traction, ANZ data showed significant increase in spending among women on travel, hotels, entertainment, and even pets during the period.

Originating from the US TV show “Parks and Recreation” in 2010, thanks to Amy Poehler's character Leslie Knope, “Galentine's Day” has become a celebrated alternative to Valentine's Day, where women honour their friendships.

In 2023, ANZ's female customers marked the occasion by spending $136.5m on Feb. 13 and 14, a 28% increase from the previous year. This included $6.4m on travel (a 138% increase), $3.3m on hotels (up 31%), $5.5 million on entertainment (up 104%), and $2 m on pet-related expenses (a 48% increase).

ANZ’s data not only reflected changing Valentine’s Day trends but also underscored how Australian couples are setting significant life goals together, with saving for a house (29%) and holidays (19%) being top priorities.

Guarding hearts and wallets online

Mehra also offered advice on staying vigilant against romance scams, emphasising the importance of cautious online interactions.

Romance scammers are online fraudsters who manipulate dating or romantic connections to build trust and then exploit that trust for financial gain.

“When you receive the first message from a suitor to connect, don't dive in head first but instead have eyes wide open,” Mehra said. “Always be on the lookout for simple things like whether they have limited personal information on their profile and have few connections, comments, likes and shares on social channels, if they exist.”

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