Entertainment

Bacon chocolate, e-cards and other Valentine trends

By Heather Kelly, (CNN) — Choosing the right Valentine’s Day gift can be tricky. Is your paramour into the the textbook red roses and box of chocolates, or would they prefer a romantic home-cooked meal?

When in doubt, ask the Internet.

Google has combed through recent search trends to get an idea of what people are thinking this Valentine’s Day. (It’s on Thursday, folks, in case it slipped your mind. Better get busy.)

According to Google, in the past 30 days, more people were looking for gift ideas for the special men in their life than for wives or girlfriends. Wooing with gifts appears to be a bigger priority for couples in the early stages of a relationship. There were 59% more searches for “gifts for girlfriend” than “gifts for wife” and 292% more searches for “gifts for boyfriend” than for “gifts for husband.”

Then again, maybe men are just trickier to shop for on Valentine’s Day, and after a few years of marriage, people know their significant other’s preferences cold and don’t need the assistance of a search engine.

When it comes to gifts, flowers and food are still the dominant choices, though there are some signs of creativity in recent search terms. The most popular flower searches after roses were orchids, lilies, tulips and carnations.

In the sweets category, plain old chocolate is the most popular, but milk chocolate was 37% more popular than dark chocolate in the past month. During that same period, the number of searches for “heart shaped cake” surged 4,900% and “healthy chocolate” 110%.

Popular foodie trends have infiltrated searches in the past year, with a 7% increase in searches for “chocolate bacon cookies” and a 5% boost for the term “gluten free chocolate.” The unlikely search term “Valentine beer” had a 40% jump since last year.

Going back to elementary school, Valentine’s Day has been about the cards: First carefully crafted with safety scissors, construction paper and glue, and later bought pre-made from a store.

But physical cards require thinking ahead, or at least swinging by a Walgreens on the way to a date. Enter the e-card.

One-third of American adults plan on sending an e-card this Valentine’s Day, according to a recent study by the mobile testing company SOASTA. Digital cards are most popular with men between 35 and 44, and spouses were the most common recipients. People were far less likely to send an e-card to their boyfriends or girlfriends, perhaps because they were too busy buying them chocolate bacon cookies and roses.

Most of the romantics sending e-cards didn’t plan on spending all that time filling out e-mail addresses and typing a message without expecting something in return. Thirty-five percent of people sending an e-card to a current or potential love interest expected a thank you, 19% were hoping to get an e-card right back, and 10% were expecting sex, according to the SOASTA study.

However people are demonstrating their feelings, it’s looking like a good year for love, according to Google’s stats. Queries for tips on how to propose spiked 66% in the past month, especially in California, New York and Texas. Since last year, searches for “how to break up” are down 15%, “breakup advice” dropped 33%, and searches for “divorce” are down a heart-warming 41%.

Finally, not all gifts this Valentine’s Day are for people. Google found that “gifts for dogs” was a popular search in the past month. Unfortunately for felines, it was 240% more popular than “gifts for cats.”

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