Valentine's Day gifts: What people really want(Read article summary)
This Valentines Day, stay away from the usual suspects, like candy and flowers. What most people really want on Valentine's Day is time.
Greg M. Cooper/NECCO/AP/File
Ah, Valentineâ€™s Day, the holiday where everyone longs for a box ofÂ chocolates andÂ a dozen roses. OrÂ do they?
Money Talks News recentlyÂ conducted a surveyÂ asking, â€śWhich gift would you be most excited to see on Valentineâ€™s Day?â€ť Both men and womenÂ in all age groups â€“ 1,503 survey participants in total â€“ were asked to select among five options: candy, jewelry, flowers, a gift certificate, or a romantic date.
While you mightÂ expect the most traditional gifts â€“ flowers and candy â€“ to top wish lists, the reality was practically the opposite. Hereâ€™s how each of the fiveÂ faredâ€¦
Russell Stover might not want to hear this, but of the five options,Â candy wasÂ the least popular.
In aÂ 2010 surveyÂ from theÂ National Retail Federation,Â 47.2 percent of respondents said they planned to buy candy for their Valentine.Â Maybe they did â€“ but the recipient might not have been as thrilled as they acted.
Only 11.7 percent of participants in our survey wereÂ hoping for candy this year, with men (13.2 percent) preferring sweets more than women (10.4 percent). Not surprisingly, candy is more appealing to the younger crowd:Â 17.9 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds put it at the top of their list,Â compared to justÂ 9.2 percent of those over age 65.
Judging byÂ the volume ofÂ radio and TV commercials for heart-shaped necklaces and diamonds, youâ€™d think we shouldÂ all be expecting a small, gift-wrapped box soon. According to aÂ 2012 studyÂ by BIGinsight for the National Retail Federation, consumers planned to spend $4.1 billion on jewelry out of a total $17 billion in Valentineâ€™s Day spending.
Some of that spendingÂ may have been misguided. According to our survey, jewelry was the second least popularÂ gift.
Overall, only 15.4 percent of respondents chose a watch or jewelry. Women were more likely to want jewelry than men,Â 16.9 percent toÂ 13.8.Â More surprising was the influence age seems to have on this choice: 23 percent of women 35-44 put jewelry first, while only 8.6 percent of those over 65 did.
If thereâ€™s a gift that says â€śValentineâ€™s Day,â€ť itâ€™s roses. But while flowers may beÂ traditional, theyâ€™re not all that wished-for. FlowersÂ fell in the middle of our respondentsâ€™ wish list, with 16.4 percent overall saying theyâ€™re hoping for a flower delivery this year.
If you do plan on flowers,Â KGO-TVÂ in San Francisco says roses (particularly red ones) will be the most popular, making up about half of all the flowers we buy. A dozen long-stemmed roses will cost about $80 on Valentineâ€™s Day, compared to $62 the rest of the year, according to theÂ Society of American Florists.
InÂ 15 Sexy Tips to Save on Valentineâ€™s DayÂ we give you a bunch of tips to save on flowers, such asÂ buying refrigeratedÂ flowers from a store, not online. And never on the side of the road.
2. Gift certificate
The second most popular gift in our surveyÂ was the mostÂ practical: aÂ gift certificate. Twenty-fourÂ percent of respondents said that was what they wanted most.Â Guys prefer them more than women do, withÂ 28.7 percent of men saying this was No. 1, compared toÂ 19.8 percent of females.Â Gift cards also appeal to survey takers in rural areas more than urban ones, with 29.8 percent of respondents in rural areas giving them a thumbs upÂ compared toÂ only 21.4 percent of urban dwellers.Â And when it comes to ages, those 45 and up prefer them more than the younger crowd.
But just because gift cards did well in our survey doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™t go wrong. From holiday stories "The Five Dumbest Gifts for Your Girl"Â and "6 Dumb Gifts for Guys â€“ and 6 Smart Ones":
- Stay out of the kitchenÂ â€“ Donâ€™t buy gift cards from kitchen stores or gourmet food shops. Sure, your significant other may love to cook, but be careful youâ€™re not implyingÂ she should be spending more time cooking for you.
- Valentineâ€™s Day isnâ€™t about self-improvementÂ â€“ A free pass to a gym, a month long indoor tanning membership, or a six month supply of diet meals arenâ€™t going to fly on Valentineâ€™s Day.
- Clothes shopping trips for guysÂ â€“ Most guys arenâ€™t that interested in clothes and they wonâ€™t be excited to get a gift card for them.
Once you know what gift cards to get, donâ€™t buy them directly from the store. In "Best Sites for Buying Discounted Gift Cards," we give you a whole list of sites that sell them on the cheap â€“ up to 35 percent off.
1. Romantic date
The most popular gift on ourÂ 2013 Valentineâ€™s Day gift study, picked by nearly a third of respondents:Â a romantic date. Hereâ€™s the breakdown:
- The was the most popular with both men (30.2 percent) and women (34.3 percent).
- Respondents in the 35 to 44 age range picked this gift the most (39.5 percent) while many overÂ 65 would just as soon stay home:Â Only 22.3 percent of seniorsÂ opted for a romantic date.
Conclusion? Give time, not stuff
While this survey flies in the face of what we think of as traditional Valentineâ€™s Day gifts, the results shouldnâ€™t be surprising. After all,Â when youâ€™re on your death bed, you wonâ€™t be remembering the stuff you had, youâ€™ll be remembering the times you had. TimeÂ with one another is where memories are made, not florist shops.
So rather than using your wallet this year, use your imagination. It doesnâ€™t have to cost much to create a lasting memory.Â While a 2012Â Zagat surveyÂ found the average couple planned to spend $147 on a Valentineâ€™s Day meal, romance is free.Â A walk in the park, a picnic â€“ there are plenty of ways to show that special someone how special they are without spending a dime.
But if a restaurant is part of your plan, at least save where you can. Check outÂ 15 Ways to Save on Eating Out.
Angela Colley is a writer forÂ Money Talks News, where this column first appeared.