On Valentine's Day, candy is still top gift, polls show


Think of it as a win for food stores and a loss, perhaps, for florists. Several polls out in the last few days say that candy is the No. 1 gift for Valentine’s Day and that supermarkets and discount stores are the most popular destination for Valentine’s Day shopping.

Canadians budgeted an average of $37 for Valentine’s Day this year, with half of that amount going to candy and cards, according to a survey done for the Retail Council of Canada.

The poll did find regional differences. For instance, British Columbians were most likely to buy candy (37 per cent of their budget) while Albertans and Quebecers expected to spend the most on flowers (25 and 24 per cent of their budgets, respectively).

A Shoppers Drug Mart poll, meanwhile, found romantic dinners and date nights were the most popular Valentine’s Day treat. The poll found that candy (12 per cent) and gift cards (11 per cent) were other popular ways to show affection on Feb. 14th.

Regardless of what's purchased, it appears that prefer not to plan Valentine's Day purchases out. The Shoppers' poll found 54 per cent of Canadians wait until a few days or until Valentine's Day itself to buy something. Not surprisingly, men (58 per cent) were more likely to procrastinate than women (49 per cent).

As for where consumers shop most for Valentine's  Day, NPD Group research in the U.S. found that discount and grocery stores are the most popular destinations. Of adult consumers who planned to buy candy, 35 per cent said they were going to buy chocolate and 55 per cent said they intended to buy boxed chocolates, according to NPD.

And while stores continue to be the primary place to pick up something for Valentine’s Day, more shoppers are heading to their computers.

Fifty-six per cent of Americans said they planned to buy something for Valentine’s Day online. That’s 22 per cent more than did so last year, according to a survey by PriceGrabber. Conveniently, the online comparison site yesterday had a button specifically for Valentine’s Day deals on its homepage.

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