Toks David, Lagos
It’s Valentine’s Day and you’re still at work, or maybe just putting final touches to that important term paper you have to turn-in in a few hours. Your smart phone vibrates. You pick it up. It’s 6 a.m. already. You’re still up. Lots of missed notifications and WhatsApp messages you’d rather ignore. You slide open the screen and click on ‘Reminder’. “Don’t forget,” the short message reads. You remember you haven’t decided what to get him or her yet. No time to think it through and so you cut to the chase and send cash instead.
If the above scenario applies to you, congratulations: you just delivered the worst gift you could ever give on Valentine’s. That and sex toys – that is according to a new survey of Valentine’s Day shopping habits of the average Nigerian.
In a survey of over 5,600 people from 32 different countries, Picodi.com, an online coupon shopping service, found that Nigerians spend on average about N11,500 per head on Valentine’s Day gifts – with women spending slightly more (N12,000) than men (N11,000). And the most popular gifts? Well, it depends: a third (33%) of Nigerian men either would take their female companion out on a date in a restaurant or buy her jewelry, while two-fifths (40%) of Nigerian women prefer to buy their male companions perfumes.
But popularity isn’t the same thing as desirability. At least not according to the survey, which finds that what most Nigerian men and women desire for Valentine’s Day is to be gifted with perfumes – in roughly the same percentages (50% for women and 53% for men). Which happens to be the third most popular gift for the romantic occasion worldwide (at 13%), after a trip to a cinema/theatre (14%) and a date in a restaurant (23%).
And even though Valentine’s is a very popular affair in Nigeria (with 83% who say they celebrate the occasion in some way or the other), the survey finds that more women (31%) than men (24%) have never received a Valentine’s Day gift; considerably more than the 15% of men and 11% of women in a relationship just completely ignore the day altogether.
Either way, the most ironic (or perhaps not so surprising) revelation about a day known for bold and spicy gestures is that roughly equal numbers of men and women (30% for men and 32% for women) do not consider sex toys very appealing, let alone a charming idea.
So if you’re thinking about the perfect gift to start off or round off a perfect day for the perfect person in your life, you can do no worse than converting that cash in hand into something as traditional as a good old fashioned dinner date. Plus, the fragrance of love in the air is sure to make up for whatever little blunders you might find yourself stumbling into today.