Everything you know about Valentine’s Day — fast approaching — is very likely wrong.
What’s the Average Spend?
No, not fifty bucks: Try $161.96. And that’s up 13 percent from last year’s $143.56, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Here’s the crazy thing: Fewer people are actually celebrating the holiday: 51% down from a high of 67% in 2007.
Renting Houses More Than Hotels
It seems like the idea of a luxury hotel stay (someone else makes your bed!) has lost some appeal. A recent study published by Vacasa shows that couples are deciding to kick it like a local and stay in a house, Airbnb-style (see also our story on airbnb honeymoons). Why this trend? Renting a real home is often cheaper and less sterile than a hotel room. Plus, you can cook up your own feast instead of ordering room service at three times the price.
The same study looked at the top travel destinations for couples and Honolulu was ranked number one for Valentine’s Day. But Hawaii can be just a little far away for some, which explains why cities in Florida, Arizona and Texas are also on the top 10 list.
Most places on the list, like Key West and Corpus Christi, are quieter coastal cities that don’t have as much hustle and bustle like Miami or Austin. It seems like clubbing and crowds aren’t always everyone’s highest priority. Instead, couples are choosing to, you know, spend quality time together. Weird.
Replacing Gifts with Experiences
Regardless of the couples’ age, a significant percentage of people would rather do something new rather than get something new. 71% of older couples from the Baby Boomer generation and 80% of younger, Gen Z couples responded that they prefer unique experiences over material gifts.
What Are Couples Doing?
Opting for a little culture like visiting a museum, going to the theater, or hitting up a concert nearby. Outdoorsy types gravitate toward going on a river cruise; for a less vigorous trip there is always a bus tour in a foreign city, wining and dining or heading to a new brewery or distillery.
But what about those who shun the commercial behemoth of Valentine’s Day (130 million Valentine’s Day cards per year) and don’t have anyone to celebrate with? Turns out, they’re just as busy traveling the world, only they’re doing it by themselves. According to the Airbnb Newsroom, there’s been a 200% increase in solo bookings during the holiday. (On a related note: See our story on how “solomoons” are becoming a thing.)
So this year, save your money and get your partner what they really want — something fun and exciting. And for those of you who are very much single, go ahead and treat yo’ self. You deserve it.