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What’s love got to do with it? Valentine’s Day is now more about friends than lovers

Australians will dig deep for Valentine’s Day gifts despite cost-of-living pressures but for some it will be friends rather than a lover being lavished with presents.

Feb 13, 2024, updated Feb 13, 2024
Flower traders sell roses to florists ahead of Valentine’s Day at the Sydney Flower Markets in Sydney, Monday, February 12, 2024. Preparation for Valentine's Day is in full swing with florists and traders gearing up on roses and florals for the busiest day of the year. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) NO ARCHIVING

Flower traders sell roses to florists ahead of Valentine’s Day at the Sydney Flower Markets in Sydney, Monday, February 12, 2024. Preparation for Valentine's Day is in full swing with florists and traders gearing up on roses and florals for the busiest day of the year. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) NO ARCHIVING

Galentine’s Day, where female friends get together to party is a spin on the occasion, which traditionally only celebrated romantic heterosexual relationships.

The Australian Retailers Association says roughly 12 per cent of those giving gifts will be buying a present for someone other than their romantic partner, including flowers, chocolates, cards as well as other gifts.

Young single Tatenda Chikwakukire believes the narrative around Valentine’s Day is changing.

”As someone who hasn’t really prioritised romantic relationships yet, I think the day is an opportunity for me to reflect on the special relationships with the women in my life,” Ms Chikwakukire said.

Relationships and intimacy expert Susie Kim believes the dating culture in Australia is changing.

”Despite the cynical comments you will typically hear around dating culture, everyone wants to feel involved,” Ms Kim told AAP.

”Social media has contributed to this massively, everyone wants to receive beautiful red flowers, undertake their self-care ritual and feel loved,

”At the end of the day, everyone loves, love”.

Woman buys roses from grower at market
About 3.4 million Australians will giving gifts or flowers or dinners on Valentine’s Day. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)
Research from Compare the Market estimates the average adult will spend $162 on their significant other on Wednesday.

Millennials will fork out the most, spending $334 on what the average couple spends, followed by Gen Z’s spend of $185 and Gen X’s spend of $142.

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Baby Boomers on the other hand will fork out just $20.

Further research from the retailers’ association, shows 3.4 million people will be gift giving this year (down 700,000 from 2023), with florists around the country working overtime to keep up with demand.

Aussies will spend $465 million this year (down 4.1 per cent or $20 million from 2023) as cost-of-living pressures clip Cupid’s wings.

The association says the overall spend and number of Valentine’s Day shoppers is tipped to fall, with gift-givers splashing out $135 per head, considerably more than last year (up from $118 in 2023 or 14.4 per cent).

“It’s pleasing to see that the vast majority of love birds will be spending time together with a romantic lunch or dinner either at home or at a restaurant,” chief executive Paul Zahra said.

For others Valentine’s Day can be a time to purge themselves of once treasured pledges of love.

Eco-friendly toilet paper company Who Gives a Crap is offering people the chance to transform old love letters and cards into 100 per cent recycled toilet paper.

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