Love Me, Love Me Not: Valentine's Day in the GCC

Love Me, Love Me Not: Valentine's Day in the GCC
  • 42% of respondents in UAE plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year
  • 35% of female respondents prefer jewelry as a Valentine’s gift, while only 4% prefer chocolate
  • Among respondents celebrating Valentine’s Day, 59% will do so by going out to dinner with their partner

While Valentine’s Day is a relatively new holiday to the MENA region, mall decorations, online gift deals and advertisements from local restaurants make 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.

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.

In terms of 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’.

The survey was conducted using YouGov’s Online Panel and all questionnaires were completed between February 6th – 11th 2013.  The results are based on a total sample of 2,641 GCC residents.  YouGov’s panel is broadly representative of the online population across the GCC region.

 

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