While the most romantic of holidays has been traditionally viewed as more of a "woman's holiday," there is strong evidence that men are getting gifted during Valentine's Day as well. The approximate $15.7 billion dollar holiday is mostly made up of gifts given to women, but women, on average, are ponying up around $51 per gift - about half of what men are reported as spending by DegreeSearch.org. As the roles of men and women and views of gifting become more flexible, we see an opportunity for a growing market for the gifted man. (For related reading, see How To Spend Valentine's Day On A Budget.)
Flowers are such a popular item during the holiday - making up for around $1.7 billion of that initial number of Valentine's sales - which it would seem that men were the recipients of some of the blooms and plants that marketers are selling during the month of February. A quick look at some of the more popular floral delivery sites prove that there is a push for men to at least enjoy the benefits of a flowering plant or a sports-themed bouquet. FTD's website even features a "For Him" section, complete with a vase of dyed roses to match fan gear for teams like Penn State's Nittany Lions. The tradition of floral gifts for men may have a way to go before catching on nation-wide. However, about 14% of women in the DegreeSearch.org survey admitted to sending flowers to themselves.
The way to a man's heart may very well indeed be through the stomach, as retailers ramp up their edible offerings in hopes of a few good men being lavished with snacks and treats. With candy still coming in at No. 3 in overall gifts purchased for Valentine's Day, we imagine many men are helping their ladies devour the excess chocolate and are perhaps getting a box to call their own as well. Retailers that offer drop-shipped, high-end gourmet items like steaks, lobster and beer will run promotions again this year, hoping to lure the uninspired girlfriend or wife into a product package that says "I Love You," and relieves her from the pressure of getting the perfect gift for her man.
If jewelry is the perfect gift for a gal, then watches are the male gift equivalent. The classy, yet comfy gift trend is ranking high on the best-seller lists of online shopping site Amazon.com. Brick-and-mortar jewelers are bringing their best watches front and center to inspire those last-minute shoppers, who aren't sure what their male Valentine will like most. Prices for the perfect watch are as varied as the styles available. Designer models fetch thousands of dollars, while a solid utility watch can be purchased for less than $100. Things to look for in a high-quality watch include fit and a good manufacturer's or retailer warranty, but the ability to return a not-right style may provide the highest value for this top Valentine's pick.
The honest truth about buying ladies' "underthings" is that it is often for the delight of the guy - not the girl - that the gift is given. Lingerie sales skyrocket during romantic holidays such as Valentine's Day, and while the male may often be the giver, it is much to his own benefit that this choice in gift is made. While sales for this category aren't expected to be as enthusiastic as other gift groups, there is a market for both the daring and delicate offerings of stores like Victoria's Secret and others.
The Bottom Line
Shopping for men can be almost as difficult as shopping for a boss or estranged relative, it seems. While they are usually more open about what it is that they want, the Valentine holiday industry is generally not as geared toward the gender as it is toward their female counterparts. Most men agree, however, that the thought does count, and as sales for 2012 continue to rise, we expect women are trying harder than ever to get this year's gift right. (For additional reading, see The Premium You Pay On A Valentine Gift.)