This Valentine's Day, what do women want? Not flowers

Flowers are a mixed bag where Valentine's Day gifts are concerned, according to a new poll.

Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
A man carries roses for sale ahead of the Valentine's Day at a flower market in Vienna, Austria.

New polling data is out for Valentines and singles alike, and the verdict is clear: many think it's an overrated commercial for roses and chocolates.

Almost half of the women surveyed – 46 percent – said they would rather not receive flowers on Feb. 14, I4U News reported. 

Two out of three women polled said they don't enjoy flowers because they die too quickly. "As a symbol of love, it would be nice if they lasted longer!" said Tamara Kullback, spokeswoman for survey organization Caption Fragrance Co.

In fairness, many recipients allow their flowers to die early because of poor care. 

"Most floral arrangements last four to seven days or longer, depending on the flowers used and the care they receive," wrote Lisa Greene, a floral marketing director in Massachusetts for Flower Factor.

In other words, a vase of roses will almost certainly last longer than a heart-shaped box of chocolates, but candy remains the most common Valentine's Day gift this year, according to the National Retail Federation. 

Flowers are the catch-all gift for sweethearts who forgot the impending holiday; 22 percent of men surveyed admitted they picked up flowers in a rush.

That said, 70 percent of women surveyed did not necessarily frown on flowers; they just saw the holiday as a good excuse for a gift that lasts forever – a hint for diamonds, perhaps?

Jewelry is the third most-common gift this Valentine's Day, with nearly 20 percent of consumers planning to treat a loved one to something with sparkle.

Altogether, Valentine's Day spending is expected to reach a record $19.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Consumers are spending an average of $146.84 per person on the holiday, up from an average $142.31 last year.

The anti-flower sentiment parallels a trend seen elsewhere in American society – fewer flower purchases for special occasions. The "in leiu of flowers" movement has already contributed to floral decline in funerals, reports the American Society of Florists.

While flower arrangements were once a traditional mainstay of holidays including Easter, Mother's Day, and Christmas, their importance is wilting in an increasingly casual society. 

Roughly one in four Americans bought flowers for Valentine's Day in 2015, a number that has held steady for the last two years. In 2015, 48 percent of florists saw a drop in Valentine's Day sales while 37 percent saw sales increase, according to the Society of American Florists. Many florists whose sales dropped blamed the Saturday holiday – "weekend holidays are notoriously challenging for the floral industry," – and the terrible weather in the Northeast. 

Even in an off year, Valentine's Day sales provide 14 percent of an average florist's average sales, and a majority of the sales last year were for red roses.  

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