by Alexis Carey
LOVE doesn't come cheap.
According to various studies, Australians are expected to splash some serious cash for Valentine's Day this year.
Commonwealth Bank's latest spending data has revealed Australians spent more than $23 million on Valentine's Day last year.
In 2017 we dropped $13.6 million on dinner, $7 million on drinks and $3.2 million on flowers - a 60 per cent total increase in spending across these three categories compared with an average Tuesday in February.
And unsurprisingly, florists experienced a whopping 500 per cent increase in sales on Valentine's Day last year compared with an average Tuesday that month.
The most romantic age group were the 26 to 35-year-olds, who accounted for 38 per cent of all florist spending and 36 per cent of all restaurant spending.
And the 18 to 25-year-olds weren't far behind, taking the next biggest share of spending in restaurants at 20 per cent.
But Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said he expected spending to increase this year with Aussies feeling a bit more romantic following the successful same-sex marriage postal survey.
The ARA expects florists will have worked 48 hours straight in the lead-up to Valentine's Day, traditionally the busiest day on the calendar for the industry.
So how much will we spend on our sweethearts in 2018?
In a significant contrast to the Commonwealth Bank's more conservative spending figures from Valentine's Day 2017, comparison site finder.com.au estimates a staggering $528 million Valentine's Day splurge today.
The research found around two in five of us will spend an average of $75 on our partners, with Gen Ys forking out $87 on average compared to $76 for Gen X and just $45 for Baby Boomers.
Men are expected to spend almost double the average female spend, splashing $94 compared to $56.
But the site's analysis also discovered a rising anti-Valentine's Day sentiment, with 64 per cent of Australians planning to boycott the day altogether.
Queenslanders are most likely to ignore the day entirely, followed by Victorians and South Australians.
But while 80 per cent of Baby Boomers will avoid the day of love, only 47 per cent of Gen Ys will boycott it.
Finer.com.au money expert Bessie Hassan said Valentine's Day "felt like forced fun" for many people.
"Valentine's Day has been copping some backlash for a number of years now, which is not surprising considering the exorbitant mark-ups on everything from flowers to restaurants and chocolates," she said.
"But there are plenty of people who love celebrating the day. Consider going for dinner or celebrating it on another day - that way you'll avoid the set menus and marked up prices.
"Love it or hate it, Aussies will still spend an estimated half a billion dollars this Valentine's Day."