Valentine's Day is a multi-billion dollar global industry driven by obligatory buying.

The US spent more than $24 billion on the annual day of love last year, while spending in the UK is estimated to have been at around $1.9 billion.

In New Zealand, figures from Mastercard last year showed that Kiwi men expected to spend an average of $157 and women $103.

Research from AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC) released this year suggests that higher spending among men might be because they feel greater pressure to impress their significant others.

Advertisement

Of the 1,600 Kiwis surveyed, 96 per cent said that women care more about Valentine's Day and 84 per cent said men were expected to put in more effort.

While Valentine's Day is often played down as a commercial ruse, many Kiwis would not be impressed if their partner forgot the day.

A total of 47 per cent said they would be disappointed if their partner forgot the day, even if they were not fussed about the celebration. A further 29 per cent took an even more extreme view, saying everyone should do something for their partner on the day.

"We were most interested to find that New Zealand loves 'love' and that people still enjoy the sentiment behind celebrating Valentine's Day," said AMP Regional Centre Manager Emma Smith.

Interestingly, the commercial aspect of Valentine's Day seems to be self-imposed in many instances. More than 50 per cent of respondents said they preferred spending quality time with their loved one over receiving material items. An additional 26 per cent said that they preferred to do nice things for their partner rather than buying trinkets.

"Kiwis value spending quality time with their partners, and mostly, just hope they'll be thought of in one way or another," said Smith.

Half of those surveyed this time said they were expecting to spend about $50 on Valentine's Day this year.

However, given the pressure of expectation and the powerful promotional machine operating in the background, it might prove a little difficult to stick to this limit.