What should I give my significant other this year? Chocolate? Jewelry? A spa day or dinner and a movie? It’s a question that gives even the best of us romantics extreme angst every year.

We wanted to see if there were any unique stories that we could tell about consumers’ gift-giving behavior by looking at the data in our Insights Portal. In diving through our crafted audience data, we spotted a few of the classics – jewelry, watches, chocolate – but what really caught our attention were the patterns of behavior that emerged depending on what stage their relationship is in: as intimacy grows, so do expectations for Valentine’s Day.

Here are some of the more interesting findings from our study:

  • Going into this exercise, we assumed that the least expensive and most impromptu date idea (Seamless + streaming service) would appeal to those in casual relationships. However, the data actually revealed that inexpensive and impromptu works better for Parents with Young Kids. Possibly the cure for a long day of wrangling rambunctious toddlers. Possibly streaming as a substitute babysitter for rambunctious toddlers.
  • Classic ‘dinner and a movie’ proved to be a strong go-to for those in the early stages of dating. It makes sense given that sitting in a movie theater together can fuel intimacy without the burden of being witty and brilliant for an entire evening and, if dinner follows, certainly provides a strong conversation starter.
  • By far the strongest correlation we discovered was that established couples, particularly those without children in the home, are far more likely to seek out experiences for two.

Empty Nesters are Honeymooners 2.0

One might assume that Honeymooners and Empty Nesters, sitting on opposite ends of the timeline, would exhibit greater variances in Valentine’s gift giving behavior. Our findings show that they actually behave relatively the same.  And it makes sense, as both types of couples share a goal of fostering intimacy in a new stage of life.

Let the shared experiences begin:

  • Order In and a Bottle of Wine. Honeymooners of all stripes – newlyweds and empty nesters – like to make Valentine’s Day a quiet night for snuggling up. Think of it as the Dinner and a Movie (preferred by Daters), only in a shared – and subsequently more intimate – living space.


  • Spa Days & Restaurant Nights. Both audiences are also prone to keeping things fresh, varying up routines by pampering themselves with a spa day or checking out a new restaurant.


  • Building / Reinventing a Home. Before you knock home renovations as not being romantic, consider this. Home DIY projects index high for both newlyweds and empty nesters. The former are nesting for the first time, which, let’s face it, is one of the great joys of life. And what’s more intimate than building a home? Their DIY projects are likely focused on essential home projects that celebrate their accomplishments together, such as planning for a nursery or creating a home office. Empty nesters, meanwhile, find themselves free to indulge in those long dreamed of “someday” projects. With established careers and greater disposable income, it makes sense than Empty nesters index significantly higher than Honeymooners for reinventing their home. A home DIY project would be the gift that keeps on giving. Let the kitchen remodel begin!


  • Symbolic Gestures of Love. While both of these audiences index high for Flower & Gift Baskets, Empty Nesters seem to rely on this staple far more often. After a lifetime of accumulating stuff, they no doubt have a favorite watch or necklace. They are much more likely to give a symbolic gesture of love – in flowers or gift baskets – rather than an additional version of something they already possess.

When All Else Fails, Buy Whiskey–Unless You Have Older Children

As you can see in the above chart, whiskey is a popular gift across the board.

We hope you found these Valentine’s Day insights helpful. Feel free to shoot us a note at gbarash@dstillery.com and abianco@dstillery.com if you have any questions. We’d love to hear your feedback.

Gilad Barash is the Director of Analytics at Dstillery and Alyssa Bianco is a Data Analyst at Dstillery.