Valentine’s Day led to a 5.3 per cent increase in spending compared to the previous Thursday, reaching $204 million, with several retail categories seeing a rise in spending according to payment provider Paymark.
Unsurprisingly, florists were the big winner on the day, with spending increasing 378 per cent, growing from $273,000 the week earlier to $1.3 million, while jewellers saw a 70 per cent increase and restaurants and cafes enjoyed 23 per cent more spending – to $1.3 million and $16.6 million respectively.
“Our figures suggest Valentine’s Day was again full of romance… [People] wined and dined and they exchanged flowers and jewellery,” Paymark head of e-commerce, digital experience and marketing Darren Hopper said.
Other gift-based retailers, such as book stores, video stores, liquor and charities also enjoyed spending increases on the day.
2019 to remain competitive
Paymark confirms that, compared to the slowed tail-end of 2018, 2019 has returned to a higher growth rate, with January spending eclipsing that of December, and the beginning of February growing once again.
February’s growth rate of 6.6 per cent has risen above the 5.9 per cent annual growth rate of the past five years, after January jumped to 5.6 per cent from Decembers 2.4 per cent.
Department stores enjoyed spending growth of 20.3 per cent over the first two weeks of February, while liquor retailers (15.1 per cent) and housing-related shops (9.7 per cent) also saw the benefit.
Electronic goods, however, saw 23.7 per cent less spending over the beginning of the month.
“The early 2019 Paymark figures reinforces the positive but tough operating environment for merchants at present,” Hopper said.
“There will be relief amongst many merchants to see spending growth return to trend lately but this does not make up for slow growth over the busiest spending month, and it does not take away the competitive forces at play.”