Canadians May Dismiss Valentine’s Day, But Many Will Still Observe It

Politics and intimacy are among the most contentious issues for Canadian couples.

Vancouver, BC – While four-in-five Canadians currently in a relationship dismiss Valentine’s Day as a “commercial enterprise”, three-in-four plan to celebrate the occasion tomorrow, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of Canadians currently in a relationship, four-in-five (82%) call Valentine’s Day “just a commercial enterprise”, while three-in-five (62%) say it is “a waste of time and money.”

Still, only one-in-four Canadians in a relationship (25%) say they will not do anything special to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A third (32%) will go out to dinner, 24% will cook a special meal at home, 23% will include intimacy in their celebration, and 22% will give a greeting card to their spouse or partner.

There are some major differences in the types of gifts that will be exchanged on Valentine’s Day. More than half of Canadians in a relationship (52%) say they do not expect to get any presents on Valentine’s Day. Men are more likely to consider flowers (34%), a restaurant meal (28%) or a greeting card (23%) as a Valentine’s Day gift to their spouse or partner. Women are more likely to expect a greeting card (18%), flowers (14%), chocolates or candy (13%) or a restaurant meal (12%).

One third of Canadians in a relationship (33%) say they will not be giving any presents to their spouse or partner on Valentine’s Day—a proportion that includes 43% of women and 23% of men.

“Canadians seem to be playing it safe with their spouses and partners on Valentine’s Day,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “While most are quick to dismiss the occasion as merely commercial, only a few are not going to spend any money on meals and gifts.”

Across the country, 85% of Canadians in a relationship say they approve of the performance of their spouse or partner over the past year, while 14% disapprove. Canadians aged 18-to-34 provide the highest rating for their spouse or partner (89%), followed by those aged 55 and over (86%) and those aged 35-to-54 (80%).

British Columbia (89%) and Ontario (86%) boast the highest approval ratings for spouses and partners, followed by Quebec (83%), Atlantic Canada (also 83%), Alberta (80%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (79%).

More than seven-in-ten Canadians in a relationship say they are in agreement with their spouse or partner “all of the time” or “most of the time” on providing emotional support for each other (81%), the amount of time spent together (79%), which restaurants to go to (78%), the quality of time spent together (74%) and household spending decisions (71%).

More than two thirds of Canadians in a relationship also find common ground with their spouse or partner on what to watch on TV at home (69%), doing chores around the house (68%), the thermostat at home (67%) and what movies to watch (66%).

Consensus among Canadian couples is not as clear on three other issues: politics (61% are in agreement with their spouse or partner “all of the time” or “most of the time”), variety of intimacy (60%) and frequency of intimacy (56%). In fact, more than a third of Canadians in a relationship (36%) say they find common ground with their spouse or partner on the frequency of intimacy “only some of the time,” “rarely” or “never.”

One-in-four Canadians in a relationship (25%) say they met their current spouse or partner after an introduction by a friend. Other ways Canadian spouses or partners have met include at work (16%), at a bar or club (13%), at school (12%) and through an online dating service (also 12%).

Canadians aged 55 and over are more likely to have met their current spouse or partner after an introduction by a friend (29%), while their younger counterparts are more likely to have relied on an online dating service (15% for those aged 35-to-54 and 14% for those aged 18-to-34).

One third of Canadians in a relationship (32%) believe Valentine’s Day offers them an opportunity to see if their spouse or partner cares, and 30% say it is “an important day” for them.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

Most of our surveys are conducted through our Your Insights panel. The Your Insights panel is comprised of 30,000 Canadians who share their opinions on a variety of political, economic, social and other issues while earning the opportunity to get paid and win great prizes. If you’re interested in joining, please register at yourinsights.ca.

About this release

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from February 6 to February 9, 2018, among 869 Canadian adults who are currently in a relationship. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.3 percentage points. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com