The Romance of Gift Cards

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Nearly a third of Americans would rather receive a gift card as a Valentine’s Day present than anything else. That’s more than twice as many who would prefer flowers and nearly four times as many who would prefer candy. How romantic.

The data on flowers and candy applies to women, although men would also prefer a gift card rather than candy by a margin of three to one. The results come from a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed by Morning Consult on February 9 and 10.

Here are a few more data points:

  • Income matters: Americans making less than $50k are less likely (45%) to celebrate than those making $50k-100k (59%).
  • Urbanites (55%) are more likely to celebrate than rural Americans (46%).
  • Republicans (56%) are more likely to celebrate than Democrats (50%).
  • Hispanics (62%) are more likely to celebrate than any other ethnicity.
  • Roman Catholics are the most likely religious group to celebrate (59%) and atheist or agnostics are the least likely (43%).

By a margin of more than two to one (63% to 30%), survey respondents prefer gifts that are practical and that you “might need” as opposed to a gift you might not need but might enjoy.

More than three-quarters of respondents said that in the past they had received candy as a Valentine’s Day gift and more than half said they had received flowers or a stuffed animal. Less than half (46%) said they had received jewelry, although jewelry was the second-most wanted gift (18%) among women.

Because candy and flowers and stuffed animals sound to us like gifts from men to women, we would like to recall the following words of advice from the late, great Marilyn Monroe:

Men grow cold
As girls grow old,
And we all lose our charms in the end.

But square-cut or pear-shaped,
These rocks don’t loose their shape.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

Now imagine, “Gift cards are a girl’s best friend.” Romance in the 21st century.