Are you the kind of person, who waits for February 14th to happen every year, with bated breath? Someone who gushes over chocolates & flowers and all that jazz or spend your entire month’s earning on that diamond ring you had saved for that special moment on the D-day? Welcome to the time of year again, when the entire world goes in a frenzy, over a visibly overrated emotion- Love.
The avalanche of Valentine sales is happening worldwide, making predatory moves on unassuming star crossed lovers. Valentine’s day consumerism has reached such staggering proportions that it makes you wonder if Love has turned capitalist or capitalism has succumbed to the most fickle of emotions. From flower markets, Greeting Cards, Chocolates, Lingeries, Jewellery sales et al, people are buying big on Valentines Day. In 2013, the average annual Valentine’s Day spending is expected to be $13.9 billion. Some economists have even commented that the only reason that people world over are encouraged to celebrate Valentine’s Day, is to jumpstart the economy. When you think about it, it makes sense. Imagine all the advertising that big brands invest in, to sell the concept of eternal Love. Even hard core cynics would be coerced to go that extra mile for their loved one.
While Valentine’s Day is a relatively new holiday to the MENA region, as young men and women are just beginning to bare their hearts;the various mall decorations, online gift deals and advertisements from local restaurants makes it hard to ignore the increasing popularity of the holiday.
YouGov surveyed 2,641 respondents living across the GCC to see what they think about Valentine’s Day.
Highlights of the survey results:
– Among the GCC countries, Valentine’s day is most popular in the UAE and Bahrain
– 59 percent plan to celebrate by having dinner with their partner
– 49 percent said it is important for them to receive a gift on Valentine’s Day
– Female respondents prefer jewelry (32 percent) as gift, and chocolate although marketed as a popular Valentine’s Day gift, came a distant 4 percent oas the choice of valentine’s day gift
– nearly two-thirds say they make their Valentine’s Day plans in advance
– An overwhelming majority (52%) said they celebrate Valentine’s day to ‘show their partner they care for them’
Across the GCC, just over one-third of online respondents plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, however, participation varied by geographical location. Online respondents in Bahrain and the UAE are most likely to celebrate the holiday, with 49 percent and 42 percent indicating as such. Respondents in Saudi Arabia are least likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day, with only one-quarter saying they will.
Regardless of whether they plan to celebrate or not, 49 percent of online respondents (who are currently in a relationship) say they make a conscious effort to be nicer to their partner on Valentine’s Day.
However, Valentine’s Day is not solely a romantic holiday. While among all online panelists, romantic partners were most likely to be wished a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ (61 percent), so are parents (34 percent), close friends (30 percent) and other family members (20 percent).
When asked how they feel overall about Valentine’s Day, 44 percent online respondents say they like Valentine’s Day. Online respondents in the UAE are particularly fond of the holiday, with 54 percent indicating they like Valentine’s Day.
Among online respondents who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, 59 percent plan to celebrate by having dinner with their partner, while 39 percent plan to celebrate by giving a present to their partner. Online respondents in Bahrain seem particularly enthusiastic, with 66 percent saying they plan to have dinner with their partner and 46 percent saying they plan to give them a gift.
When it comes to receiving Valentine’s Day gifts, respondents who are currently in a relationship are nearly split (35 percent say they expect to receive a gift from their partner while 37 percent say they don’t). Interestingly, the divide is the same among male and female respondents.
Online respondents were also divided when rating how important it is for them to receive a gift on Valentine’s Day; 49 percent said it is important, while 38 percent say it is not.
While chocolate is marketed as a popular Valentine’s Day gift, only 4 percent of online respondents say it is their preferred gift. According to the YouGov online survey, female respondents prefer jewelry (32 percent), a holiday trip (18 percent) or flowers (15 percent),
while male respondents prefer phones (14 percent).
Among online respondents who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, nearly two-thirds say they make their Valentine’s Day plans in advance. While 58 percent make their plans a few days before Valentine’s Day, 8 percent make their plans a month in advance. Interestingly, only 14 percent of online respondents think it is the responsibility of the man to make Valentine’s Day plans, while 52 percent think it is the responsibility of both.
Interestingly, online respondents who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day indicate they are most likely to do so to ‘show their partner they care for them’ (52 percent), while 41 percent said because they themselves enjoy it. Only 4 percent of online respondents said they would be celebrating because of ‘pressure from their partner’.
An interesting regionwise Infographic on Valentine’s Day Spending by Boticca. Seems like Far Easterners are the most romantic when it comes to Valentine’s Day spending. Surprisingly Italians are among the least spenders!
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments!