Valentine’s Day spending is estimated to reach 2,389 million baht in 2023, up 15.5% year-on-year and the first growth rate in 5 years, according to the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the UTCC and advisory chairman of the Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting, said the 2023 Valentine’s Day Cost Survey with 1,255 respondents revealed that Gen Z aged 13-23 years attaches the most importance to the event. They want to spend money to buy gifts and do other activities such as flowers, dinner, going to the cinema and visiting their lover’s house. Their budget is 1,100 baht per person.
The average expenditure is 1,848 baht per person, an increase from 1,176 last year, due to price increases in food and services. Price inflation causes spending to reach 2,389 million baht, a 15.5 percent increase from the same period last year.
This is also the first time in 5 years that Valentine’s Day spending has increased after the Thai economy slowed down in 2019 due to the trade war and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The majority of the respondents, 48.1%, believe that the mood on Valentine’s Day will remain the same, while 29.1% think that there will be more hustle and bustle due to the resumption of travel activities, economic recovery and absence of parents.
The rest, 22.8%, see the coming Valentine’s Day being less lively as people are still saving money. They also see price inflation, economic downturn and unemployment as distributive factors.
In addition, they see that people have already spent so much money in January on many celebrations such as New Year and Chinese New Year. However, they believe that Valentine’s Day will be more lively next year due to the economic recovery.
The survey also shows that people believe university students are most likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day with sex (35.7%). They believe that working adults and students will follow with 33.8% and 30.6% respectively. The majority of the respondents think people will have sex at their apartment.
When asked if it is acceptable for their husband or wife to have had sex before marriage, the majority of respondents across all generations answered yes (70.5%) and no ( another 29.5%).
Regarding the discourse on “sex before marriage is normal for people of this generation”, the majority of respondents, 42.1%, consider it normal. When it comes to choosing a place, Gen Y, 24-43, opt for a hotel or motel. Gen X, 44-58, and Gen Z mostly choose their apartment. The survey also suggests that people’s concerns about adolescents still revolve mainly around illegal drugs, immature parents and the abandonment of children after birth.
Phonvichai said the fact that inflation rose by 5.02% year-on-year in January shows that the economy is spending more and manufacturers are starting to pass on the cost of necessary products to consumers.
The scenario reflects stronger purchasing power. He expects the Bank of Thailand to raise the policy rate to 2% towards the middle of the year or around the second quarter to curb inflation.
Considering this situation, the increasing number of Chinese tourists and spending during the election campaign in the second quarter, the Thai economy will grow by 3.5 to 4% as predicted.
Several parties are expected to come up with populist measures in the election campaign, such as measures related to the tax structure in government budgets, which could affect the country’s revenue. Each party should show where the money will come from when they plan government spending. They should answer questions about how much the project will cost and whether it will be worth it when looking at tax revenues.
Other questions could be whether the project will improve the welfare of Thais. For example, if it is about giving away money, where will the government get the money back from, or if it invests in an infrastructure project, what will society get in return?