The average budget for women planning to buy Valentine’s Day chocolate stands at ¥5,024, marking a 34% increase from the previous year, according to a survey released Thursday by Tokyo research firm Intage.
Despite concerns about rising prices impacting spending habits, all categories of chocolate-giving saw an increase in planned spending compared to the previous year, potentially reflecting an increase in face-to-face interactions after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
The survey, covering 2,500 men and women between the ages of 15 and 79, was carried out nationwide in January.
When respondents were asked who they intended to gift chocolates to, family members topped the list at 44.7%, with the percentage of people buying chocolates for romantic interests or partners decreasing slightly from last year to 6.4%.
Notably, 21.7% of survey participants said they would purchase chocolates for themselves — 3.4 times more than those buying for a romantic partner — followed by 13.9% who plan to buy chocolates for friends. Analysts in the survey report attributed this trend to the diversification of consumption habits, with more individuals choosing to treat themselves.
In recent years, oshi-choko (which can be roughly translated to “chocolate for my favorite'') has become a popular talking point on social media sites. One main way people indulge in oshi-choko is taking photos of chocolate surrounded by photos or merchandise of their oshi (favorite idol or character). Another way is giving chocolate to friends who are part of the same fandom. While 37.4% of female respondents said that they had an oshi, only 1.2% said they plan on buying oshi-choko.
A specific question targeting working women revealed a reluctance toward the tradition of giri-choko (obligatory chocolates for male colleagues) in the workplace. Despite a post-pandemic return to in-person work, 82.2% of respondents expressed disinterest in buying giri-choko.