Valentine's may be a day for romance but it's also a day for spending, with flowers the gift of choice.

The latest data from electronic payments company Paymark showed $1.4 million was spent at florists yesterday, up 429 per cent or $1.1m compared with the previous Wednesday.

Total spending was also up 7.4 per cent on last year's Valentine's Day with the average amount spent up 6.6 per cent to $53.89.

The jewellery sector also had a significant lift in spending with $1.2m spent yesterday, up 82 per cent on the previous Wednesday.


Spending at music stores was up 56 per cent, gift stores up 22 per cent and restaurants and cafes up 28 per cent.

Overall, the most money was spent on restaurants and cafes with $14.8m spent on the day.

"Paymark figures show the extent of spending at these merchants but does not show 'the why'," Paymark said.

"However, it is reasonable to presume that romance was behind this extra spending, especially as a similar pattern has occurred on previous Valentine's Days."

The company said what was surprising was a 39 per cent jump in payments to charities yesterday and a 31 per cent increase in marine equipment sales.

The 15 per cent decline in sales through building and agriculture supply companies was likely due to the weather, it said.

"In total, Paymark processed $190 million payments yesterday, which was up 4.9 per cent on the previous Wednesday.

"As a measure of the current trend in spending, annual underlying spending growth has been 4.6 per cent in the first 14 days of February, slightly lower than recent averages," Paymark said.


Movie outlets declined in spending yesterday compared with the previous week, down 15.4 per cent.

On last year's Valentine's Day, spending at movie theatres was up by 33.6 per cent.