Britons now spend more money on Valentine’s Day gifts than they do at Easter, according to Mintel research.

Last year consumers spent £620million on Valentine’s Day gifts compared to the £575million they spent at Easter; and Mintel believes this is set to grow even further to a predicted £650million for Valentine’s in 2018 – a rise of 5% compared to last year.

Last year sales were driven by a “significant increase” in average spend, according to the research group. Data shows consumers spent £60 on average on Valentine’s Day gifts in 2017, compared to £41 in 2016. By comparison the average spend at Easter was just £41 last year and £35 in 2016.

Older Millennials (those aged between 28 and 37) were the most active spenders last Valentine’s Day, with 60% of them buying gifts in 2017 and spending £81 on average.

Meanwhile, Mintel’s data shows over half of men (53%) bought a Valentine’s Day gift last year and they spent an average of £72 compared to 39% of women, who spend £44 on average.

Food and drink topped the list of products consumers spent the most on for Valentine’s Day, reaching £128million in 2017, ahead of jewellery (£112million) and flowers (£102million).

Six out of ten (59%) Valentine’s Day shoppers think retailers should offer more options to personalise gifts, while over half think experiences make better gifts than products.

Samantha Dover, retail analyst at Mintel, said: “Valentine’s Day is now the biggest spending retail event in the first half of the year, overtaking Easter by a significant amount. This year we expect shoppers to trade up as retailers continue to increase their Valentine’s Day ranges with both premium and personalised gift options, and tapping into consumer demand for quality gifts.

“Shoppers are looking for creative ideas ahead of the 14th February, especially those that go beyond the traditional assortment of lingerie, flowers and jewellery, with experiential gifts one way to make gift suggestions more appealing. These include retailers offering embroidery classes to teach people how to make Valentine’s themed decorations or chocolate making.

“With more demand for personalised gifts, retailers also have the chance to encourage higher value purchases by offering services such as monogramming and engraving, which have becoe increasingly popular. There remains plenty of opportunities for retailers to offer more in-store services, giving shoppers a personal experience as well as personalised gifts.”