The Best Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for 2020 Are Experiences, Survey Says

A new report shows millennials aren't the only ones who'd rather share an experience than get a gift.

It's no secret that these days, we're not quite as interested in accumulating "things" as we were in the past. And while that's often considered a millennial trend, a 2019 survey by Eventbrite commissioned through Harris Poll found that 85 percent of U.S. adults agree that experience gifts are a great way for both the giver and receiver to enjoy something together. So perhaps it's not altogether surprising that a new 2020 survey by the vacation rental company Vacasa found that most Americans think that the best ideas for Valentine's Day gifts are not flowers, chocolates, or fancy jewelry, but rather, unique experiences.

The survey polled more than 1,500 U.S. adults and found that 83 percent of millennials would prefer a unique experience for Valentine's Day over a gift. Eighty percent of Generation Zers, 77 percent of Generation Xers, and 71 percent of baby boomers agreed. So while millennials seem to still be largely driving this trend, it appears that older—and younger—age groups are getting on board, too.

"It's possible that we are in a post-materialistic world where we have enough stuff, and now people are focusing more on acquiring experiences," Ohio State University professor Joseph K. Goodman, co-author of "When Consumers Prefer to Give Material Gifts Instead of Experiences," previously told MarketWatch.

Of course, traveling to a magical destination isn't the only way to share a unique experience with your significant other this Valentine's Day. Depending on your interests and what's in your area, some other great Valentine's Day ideas include trying a yoga class together or even going sky-diving.

But if you are looking for a romantic getaway, you still may not have to go too far: The survey found that most respondents wanted to snuggle up in a cozy house with a large kitchen that's situated on a coastline, which makes sense since it sounds like the setting to virtually any good romance novel.

And for proof of just how much you and your partner can benefit from a shared experience this Valentine's Day, look at Janice Holly Booth, a travel writer in her 60s, who told MarketWatch that she surprises her partner with experiences all the time, ranging from a Segway tour or zip-lining trip for under $100 to overnight getaways that are a bit more costly. "We both had accumulated so much stuff in our lives, much of which we barely used, that we decided having experiences together would be more fun, more meaningful," she told the publication. "And I do think it's worth the cost and trouble to organize, because it's a way to show the person you love that you've been thinking about what will make them happy not just on one day, but for many days."


Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more