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Costly mark-up from today as Aussies hit with $300 expense: 'Ridiculous'

"These flowers last a few days before they die so it’s a very big premium to pay.”

Costs are up and chances are if you want to buy your sweetheart a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day, you’re already going to pay through the nose as the Hallmark holiday staple cops “ridiculous” price jumps.

Yahoo Finance contacted 10 different florists around the country to see how much a bouquet would cost if you bought it this week or next. The upward trajectory in mere days would be enough to make the Reserve Bank put up interest rates again.

The biggest jump we found was in Queensland, where a florist had a $160 mark-up - more than double - from $139 to $299, but there were others already asking for $300 as a base level more than a week ahead of the commercialised occasion.

The principle of supply and demand means businesses seize any opportunity to cash in on a product that’s become the face of the ‘holiday’ - in this case, the red rose. But many of the florists, who asked not to be identified, said they were helpless and simply passing on “ridiculous” prices that growers and suppliers were slogging them with.

Costs are rising for a lot of things, but a $160 jump in mere days has been described as 'ridiculous'.
Costs are rising for a lot of things, but a $160 jump in mere days has been described as 'ridiculous'. (Getty)

Do you have a story to tell? Contact belinda.grantgeary@yahooinc.com

There’s no getting in early because the price increases have already started. Regardless, the florists said the flowers wouldn’t even last that long, so you wouldn’t be wise to buy a red rose today, even if it wasn’t for Valentine’s Day.

“Growers put prices up from today,” a Sydney florist told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

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“If they were cheaper this week and would last, we would buy them now too,” a Melbourne florist added.

“It’s the same every year,” a Perth owner said.

Putting the spend in perspective, the cost of an average weekly grocery shop - one of the most stressful financial burdens for Australians right now - is $188.

“You basically have the chance to get a whole free grocery shop for not buying that specific day,” Finder’s personal finance expert, Sarah Megginson, told Yahoo Finance.

“And these flowers … last a few days before they die so it’s a very big premium to pay.”

It also pays to compare prices around the grounds. Our analysis found some substantial differences for similar products. In one Sydney florist, you could get the Valentine’s Day bunch for $150 while others charged $300.

How much more does a few days cost?

Our little analysis looked at florists in the most populous states: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. Here are the results.

NSW

Florist 1: $120 to $150 - mark-up of $30

Florist 2: Prices already locked in for Valentine's Day at $300

Florist 3: Prices already locked in for Valentine's Day at $185

Victoria

Florist 4: $120 to $200 - mark-up of $80

Florist 5: $108 to $180 - mark-up of $72

Queensland

Florist 6: $139 to $299 - mark-up of $160

Florist 7: $179 to $240 - mark-up of $61

Florist 8: $180 to $240 - mark-up of $60

WA

Florist 9: $200 to $250 - mark-up of $50

Florist 10: $180 to $300 - mark-up of $120

Aussies spending less as cost-of-living pressures take hold

Australians are pulling back on their Valentine’s Day spending this year - which is down $20 million from last year - but are expected to fork out $465 million, according to research from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan.

“With 700,000 less Australians planning to buy a gift for a loved one this Valentine’s Day, it’s clear just how much of an impact the rising cost of living is having on households,” ARA CEO Paul Zahra told Yahoo Finance.

The average giver is tipped to spend $135, which is up from $118 last year, with younger Australians - between 18 and 34 - set to spend the most. Although, they aren’t splashing as much cash as they did last year.

“They’re typically the age group most affected by interest rates and the cost-of-living pressures,” Zahra said.

Flowers have “cemented their status as a staple of the Valentine’s Day experience”, being tipped as the most popular present, followed by chocolates and a trip away.

The data isn’t broken down into type of flower but many florists said they were trying to offer budget options - either in red, or with other flowers scattered between the expensive blooms - to make them more accessible.

“I'd be happier with some sunflowers for like 15 bucks. Because they [roses] don’t last and I’d be much more interested in a massage voucher or something useful for the price roses are,” Megginson said.

Not everyone has the same tastes, and you absolutely can save money by bucking the shackles of the ‘iconic’ gift, or even celebrating early or a few days after, when the price hype has subsided.

“Most of us do have financial considerations at the moment, and you can have a conversation about doing Valentine’s a bit smarter,” Megginson said. “If anything, it’s a great way to have a low-conflict conversation about money with a partner that could open the door to a deeper conversation about your financial values.

“Those conversations can be difficult because there can be a lot of shame for people who are struggling, but this could be a chance to introduce it in a light-hearted way.“

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