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By: Eileen Bevis

Introduction

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many global consumers are looking forward to a day filled with passion, romance, and, in some cases, stress. Dinner or a movie? Fancy restaurant or home-cooked meal? Big night out or quiet night in? With so many ways to celebrate, planning the perfect Valentine’s Day date can be overwhelming.

In this article, Euromonitor uses consumer survey results to explore what different types of couples look for in a perfect date. While some activities are universally popular (eg, almost everyone loves a nice dinner out), the appeal of others, especially alternative dates, varies by age and relationship status. In addition, not everyone finds spontaneity romantic; some prefer a well-planned date with no surprises. And while most consumers – single or partnered – prefer to spend the holiday with other people, there are others who feel they are their own best Valentine’s Day date.

Dinner and a Movie for Married Couples

Childless Couples Head Out on the Town – But Stick with Familiar Favorites

Married with no kids? No need to hire a babysitter! For these consumers, the perfect Valentine’s date involves a nice restaurant or a night at the movies, the theater, or a concert.

Married, childless couples are not completely free-wheeling, however. When it comes to planning dates, survey results reveal an even split between ‘careful deciders’ and the more flexible types, though relatively few describe themselves as truly spontaneous. Moreover, most married couples without kids prefer to dine at a trusted restaurant rather than try something new. Thus, their perfect Valentine’s Day would likely entail a well-planned, tried and true date rather than a spur-of-the-moment adventure.

Parents Plan Ahead for a Romantic Dinner

Just like those without children, married couples with kids say quality time with their partner is best spent over dinner or a movie. When it comes to choosing a restaurant, ambience is essential. For this group, a dinner date means a break from the kids. They look for restaurants that offer the relaxation and romance that may have been lost when little ones entered the household.

These consumers also prefer familiar venues over new hotspots, and are even more likely than their childless counterparts to plan the date in advance – after all, spontaneity is tough when you are a parent!

Restaurant Preferences Among Married Consumers Under 50

Restaurant Preferences

Source:    Euromonitor International Out and About Survey—2012
Note:        Showing percent of married respondents under 50 (with and without children) with each of the indicated restaurant preferences

Older Couples Look for New Experiences on Valentine’s Day

Rather than slowing down or settling into a well-worn routine, older consumers are embracing adventure. Their favorite thing to do – with or without their partner – is travel, making a long weekend getaway an excellent option on Valentine’s Day. What’s more, they want to see and learn new things on vacation. Even though most look for sunny and relaxing destinations, nearly half of over-50 travelers also seek arts, heritage, and outdoor experiences. These consumers are also willing to spend more on day excursions or on a hotel that is close to the action, rather than on amenities like room service or in-room technology. For these intrepid couples, the perfect Valentine’s Day would be spent experimenting local cuisine at a far-flung destination, especially near a beach.

Favourite Activities Among Consumers Over 50

Favourite activities among consumers over fifty (50)

Source:    Euromonitor International Out and About Survey—2012
Note:        Showing percent of respondents over 50 indicating their favourite activities

Not all older consumers are focused solely on globetrotting, however: nearly 90% also enjoy hanging out at home. Still, a significant number say quality time with their spouse is best spent at a restaurant, concert or movie. Thus, even for those who prefer to keep the romance closer to home, the ideal Valentine’s Day date takes place out on the town.

What About Singles?

Unmarried individuals have a more flexible perspective on this heart-filled holiday. While they generally prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with their girlfriend or boyfriend, they are also open to including friends and family in the festivities. Indeed, most consumers – single or partnered – enjoy spending time with friends and family. So for those flying solo this year, a group date may be the best option.

Of course, some consumers would rather spend Valentine’s Day by themselves. For solitary singletons, a DVD, massage, or takeout dinner may be the most appealing option. Unless, that is, they live in Japan, where a third of consumers say they are comfortable doing traditional date activities, like dining out or seeing a movie, on their own. In the end, Valentine’s Day should be about doing what makes you happy, whether on your own or with your partner, in town or a plane-ride away.

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