COVID-19 has had a notable effect on how much we’re willing to fork out on Valentine’s chocolate.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and it’s an especially celebrated holiday in Japan where custom dictates that women not only woo their romantic interest with a chocolatey gift but also must fork out for chocolate for their colleagues and several friends, too.

This year, though, we have an elephant in the room… COVID-19, which is still going strong. Socializing in groups is discouraged and many workplaces have resolved to telecommute, so the excuses to give out that obligatory chocolate, or giri-choco, are thin on the ground. So what does that mean for the usual chocolate industry commerce boom around this time of year?

A marketing research company, Japan Information, held a survey to gauge the public’s interest in chocolate expenditure. 900 women aged between 15 and 59 years old were asked about the intended recipients of their chocolate and how much they were willing to spend.

▼ Will there be much demand for hand-made chocolate in 2021?

When asked what chocolate they likely wouldn’t give out this year, the largest group, 31 percent, answered that they wouldn’t be giving any chocolate out at all. The next most popular answer, however, was that they wouldn’t bother to make any homemade chocolate to give out. This answer skewed remarkably young, with many self-reported high schoolers and women in their twenties making this choice.

These young demographics, naturally, were far less likely to quit giving out romantic chocolate intended for their crushes, “my-choco” which is chocolate one buys for oneself as a treat, or chocolate given out of genuine gratitude. The respondents aren’t intending to skip out on Valentine’s Day chocolate altogether — they’re just narrowing down who they’re choosing to give it out to.

But how about that budget? The survey also queried how much people were willing to spend on chocolate. This year the average budget for Valentine’s chocolate was 4,448 yen (US$42.55), down from 4,582 yen the previous year — however, on average those questioned were giving chocolate to one less person than they were last year, too! This indicates that the price isn’t fluctuating as much as people are directing their budget more closely to more important people.

Of that budget, honmei-choco, chocolate givn by women to someone they have an actual romantic interest in, accounted for the lion’s share, with the surveyed women typically spending 2,225 yen. My-choco is a little less pricey at an average cost of 1,646 yen, and chocolate for the family is cheaper still at 1,242. Meanwhile, the amounts put towards giri-choco decreased accordingly.

▼ It’s not how much chocolate you buy, it’s the quality you give to those you love.

In times like the present, where we’re keeping ourselves inside more and trying to be compassionate to our loved ones, perhaps it only makes sense to have a more close-quarters Valentine’s Day with people we really cherish. We hope however you spend yours, you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Source: PR Times via Netlab
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1,2)
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