Valentine’s Day 2022: What men and women really want as gifts

Jamie BallardData Journalist
February 08, 2022, 9:32 PM GMT+0

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many Americans are looking for a gift or gesture to say “I love you.” YouGov polled people on what it is they’d like to receive for a Valentine’s Day gift this year, and found that among both men and women, the top pick is something simple but significant: a card.

When asked what they would like to receive as a Valentine’s Day gift, the most common answer among Americans was a card, at 30%. A similar percentage (28%) say they want a nice dinner out and 27% would take chocolates or candy. Slightly fewer want flowers (22%) and a homemade meal or baked goods (20%) to celebrate the day. Just under one in five (17%) want sexual favors to celebrate the holiday and 16% would welcome a piece of jewelry.

Close to one in five (18%) say they don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day.

What men and women want for Valentine’s Day

Roughly one-third of women want a card, chocolates or candy, and/or flowers (34% each) or a nice dinner out (33%). Men are less likely to say they want any of the above, though their No. 1 pick for a Valentine’s Day gift is a card, at 27%. About one-quarter (23%) of men want a nice dinner out, and 22% say sexual favors would be a Valentine’s Day gift they’d happily receive — twice the share of women who name sexual favors as a gift they want.

One-quarter of women (25%) would enjoy receiving jewelry for Valentine’s Day, and 22% would like a homemade meal or baked goods. About one in five women (19%) want a certificate for a massage or spa day. Slightly fewer want clothing or lingerie (16%) or wine or liquor (15%) to mark the occasion.

One in five men (21%) and 15% of women say they wouldn’t want to receive anything for Valentine’s Day.

A person’s relationship status doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on what they want for Valentine’s Day, though those in relationships are less likely to say they want nothing for Valentine’s Day (14% vs 18% overall). Among women in relationships, 10% say they want nothing compared to 15% of women overall. Men in relationships also are less likely than men overall to say they want nothing (17% vs 21% overall).

Among women in relationships, the gifts they’d most like to receive for Valentine’s Day are a card (38%), a nice dinner out (38%), and/or flowers (37%). For men in relationships, a card (31%), a nice dinner out (27%), and sexual favors (26%) top the list.

What different generations want for Valentine’s Day

Among Gen Z women, 42% say they’d like to receive candy or chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Slightly fewer (35%) would want to get flowers. Responses are similar among millennial women, where the top responses are chocolates or candy (38%), or flowers (34%). Among Gen X women, 36% want a nice dinner out for Valentine’s Day and 35% want to receive flowers. Women who are Baby Boomers are most likely to say they want a card (39%), a nice dinner out (34%) or flowers (34%).

Among Gen Z men, 24% would enjoy receiving a card and 22% would want to get chocolates or candy. Millennial men most want to receive chocolates or candy (24%) or a card (24%). Among Gen X men, close to three in 10 would want a card (28%) and/or sexual favors (27%). Baby Boomer men tend to say they’d want to get a card (30%) and/or a nice dinner out (28%) for Valentine’s Day.

When analyzing the results by sexual orientation, the results suggest that heterosexual men and gay men have similar desires when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts. And the same goes for heterosexual women and lesbians. Among heterosexual men, a card tops the list at 27%. For gay men, 28% want a card and 26% want a nice dinner out. Among heterosexual women, 35% want a card; similarly, among lesbians, a card (32%) and chocolates or candy (32%) top the list. Among bisexual men, 30% want a card. For bisexual women, chocolates or candy come in at No. 1 with 38%.

Related: Valentine’s Day ranks behind just about every major holiday among Americans

See the crosstabs from this YouGov Poll:

Methodology: This Daily Agenda survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 19,804 U.S. adults interviewed online on January 21 - 24, 2022. The samples were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population, based on gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.

Image: cottonbro from Pexels

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