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The best and worst gifts to give on Valentine’s Day

We asked Australians about the best and worst romantic gifts they've ever received. 

Brodie Fogg
Feb 11, 2020
Icon Time To Read3 min read

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Most people don’t really know or care too much about the cultural or religious significance of Valentine’s Day. For most Australians, it’s a day to show your loved one you care for them by smashing the credit card on roses, chocolate and edible undies.

Or is it?

With this year’s Valentine’s Day fast approaching decided to pulse check the nation’s views and habits around Valentine’s Day and romantic gifting in general; to see what really floats Australia’s romantic boat, whether we like it naughty or nice, and whether we actually care about Valentine’s Day at all.

The nation has spoken so check out the results below and discover whether you really should get your significant other that risqué item or not.

Do Australians enjoy Valentine’s Day?

It turns out Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone, regardless of the marketing barrage promoting it. Only half (54%) of Australians usually celebrate Valentine’s Day, with there being a little bit more interest in it from the younger age groups of 18 through to 44 years old.

We find similar results when asking whether people look forward to Valentine’s Day, with only 49% of Australians looking forward to it and the older you are the less you care.

Valentine’s Day also appears to be a stress-inducing event. 40% of us get stressed about finding a good Valentine’s Day gift to give, while 46% get stressed out about receiving a Valentine’s Day gift. Specifically:

  • 18% of us stress about potentially not receiving a Valentine’s Day at all,
  • Another 18% stress about receiving a Valentine’s Day gift we don’t like,
  • 7% worry about receiving an inadequate Valentine’s Day gift, while
  • 16% fret about having to reciprocate with a Valentine’s Day of their own.

It also turns out that many of us don’t necessarily want to spend every waking moment of Valentine’s Day with our significant other. Only half (50%) want to spend as much time as possible with their partner on Valentine's Day (especially amongst younger age groups). As many as 10% of us only want to spend as much time as they have to with their partner on Valentine’s Day. Maybe true love is best in bite sizes for some people?

What makes for a good gift?

We all acknowledge the commercial bonanza that Valentine’s Day represents for retailers and other business types, but what makes for a "good" romantic gift and, more importantly, what makes for a bad one? And how much are Australians willing to fork out for their loved ones?

In terms of romantic gifting, we prefer to both give and receive an experience rather than a physical present or something our partner has DIYed for us. And while the survey showed we still enjoy the staple chocolates and a thoughtful card, it’s going out for a romantic dinner that tops the list. Australian women had a romantic dinner down as the number one gift they could recieve and it came in third place for men.

Men prefer to either do an exciting experience (like going to a music gig) or be given some new clothes or shoes, while for women their second preference is a (nice!) piece of jewellery, followed by an experience.

For those considering getting their partners something a bit more naughty, Adult Toys & Lingerie gifts rated as both some of the best and worst romantic gifts people have received. So, perhaps think twice before committing and be sure it’s the kind of thing your loved one will likely be into. Or get into.

Shopping habits & the commercials

Regardless of the gift, we end up choosing, we’re happy to part with a decent amount of cash to get it. Most Australians (67%) will spend up to $100 on a romantic gift, while a third will spend up to $200. Even if most of us, 72% in fact, think Valentine’s Day is a commercial rort.

However, some Australians are less willing to part ways with their hard-earned, with 24% limiting their Valentine’s Day gifts to a maximum of $50. Plenty of us leave it late to get the gift as well, with nearly a third (29%) of Aussies typically buying Valentine’s Day gifts at the last minute.

72% of Australians think Valentine's Day is a commercial rort
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72% of Australians think Valentine's Day is a commercial rort

Valentine’s Day taboos

Now for the more juicy stuff. Do many people end up with broken hearts on Valentine’s Day? Well, it turns out 9% of Australians have broken up with someone on Valentine’s Day, with women and 25-34year olds the clear main offenders.

When it comes to gifting nearly a quarter (24%) of us have given a Valentine’s Day gift back to their partner, with a ⅓ (34%) of 18 to 24 year olds committing this taboo. Meanwhile, 15% of us have regifted a Valentine’s Day present led by the younger 18 to 44 year olds and particularly those between the age of 35 and 44.

Getting a bit more personal and looking at people’s boudoir maneuvers, a whopping 45% of Australians feel there’s an expectation to perform in the bedroom on Valentine’s Day. And while there isn’t much difference between men and women in this regard, that sense of expectation is most keenly felt by those under 45 years of age.

There’s also a largely held belief that there should also be a day that celebrates single people, with over half (56%) of Australians agreeing on this. Perhaps unsurprisingly this is most strongly felt by younger age groups (18-24 & 35-44 yr olds particularly), where there may be a higher propensity of singletons.

Methodology surveyed 600 Australians over 31st Jan - 3rd February 2020 to find out the nation’s views and experiences around Valentine’s Day and romantic gifting in general.

Brodie Fogg
Written by
Brodie Fogg
Brodie Fogg is the Australian editorial lead at He has covered consumer tech, telecommunications, video games, streaming and entertainment for over five years at websites like WhistleOut and Finder and can be found sharing streaming recommendations at 7NEWS every month.

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