Data Journalist

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and YouGov’s data just might help you decide what you should buy your sweetheart for the occasion.

Almost two in five (38%) Americans say they are planning to get a Valentine’s Day gift for their partner this year. But what do people really want to receive on Valentine’s Day?

A new YouGov survey of more than 1,300 Americans reveals what gifts men and women say they’d like to receive for Valentine’s Day this year.

When it comes to many men, all they want for Valentine’s Day is...well, you. One in five (20%) men say what they really want for Valentine’s Day this year is sexual acts/favors. Slightly fewer say they want a card (16%), chocolates/candy (15%), wine or liquor (11%), or electronics (9%). 

If you’re buying something for a lady in your life this year, keep it simple. Three in 10 (30%) American women say they’d most like to receive chocolates/candy, while a similar number would like a card (27%) or flowers (27%).

Other things women say they would like to receive include jewelry (17%), a certificate for a massage/spa day (15%), something homemade (12%), or wine/liquor (12%). 

Another 12 percent would be delighted if their partner did something for the household that they typically manage themselves, like chores or childcare. Women who are married and have children (18%) are especially likely to say this is something they’d like for Valentine’s Day. Just four percent of married men who are fathers also say this is something they’d like to receive.

If you’re thinking of getting candy for your sweetheart, Hershey’s kisses might be a safe bet. Data from YouGov BrandIndex finds that Hershey’s and M&M’s are two of the most popular candy brands among US consumers. 

Of course, many people don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day. About three in 10 (31%) men say that they wouldn’t like to receive anything for the holiday. Eighteen percent of women agree. 

YouGov’s research also found that close to half (46%) of Americans think Valentine’s Day is too commercialized. 

Between gifts, meals, and even travel, the costs of a romantic Valentine’s Day celebration can quickly add up.

While 14 percent of US adults plan to spend no money at all on their Valentine’s Day celebration, others plan to splurge a bit.

Three in 10 (30%) will spend somewhere between $1 and $39.99, while 19 percent will spend at least $40 but less than $100. One in 10 US adults says they plan to spend more than $100 on their Valentine’s Day celebration. Those with annual incomes of $80,000 or more are especially likely (23%) to say they plan to spend more than $100 on Valentine’s Day.  

But for many Americans, it’s not about how much money you spend. It’s about how thoughtful the gift is. Data from YouGov Profiles finds that nearly nine in 10 (88%) Americans agree with the statement “It’s not important how expensive a gift was, it’s the idea behind it that counts.”

See the full survey results and sign up to be a part of the YouGov panel.

Related: Most Americans believe in soulmates

Methodology: Total unweighted sample size was 1,352 US adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (ages 18+). Interviews were conducted online between January 9 - 10, 2020. For specific analysis on US adults who are married and have children, BrandIndex data, or Profiles data please email pr@yougov.com

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