Are e-cards acceptable on Valentine’s Day?

Dylan Stableford

Should you send an e-card for Valentine's Day?

According to a recent online survey by Harris Interactive, more than a third of Americans plan to do just that.

The survey, conducted in January, found that 38 percent of adults aged 18 and older planned to send an electronic Valentine's Day card this year.

Of those, 28 percent said they would send an e-card to their spouses on Valentine's Day, while 14 percent planned to send the digital card to friends. Those e-card recipients were followed by children (11%), mothers (9%), boyfriends/girlfriends (8%), fathers (3%), grandparents (3%), secret crushes (3%), co-workers (3%), "the hot receptionist at work" (3%), bosses (2%) and a "weekend fling" (1%).

Perhaps not surprisingly, e-cards were more popular with men than women, according to the study.

Four percent of the 2,474 surveyed said they would send an e-card only if they got one themselves first. And more than half (54%) of V-Day e-card senders said they expected to get something in return for their efforts:

A 'thank you' (35%)
An e-card in return (19%)
A kiss (17%)
Sex (10%)
Dinner (10%)
A date (8%)
A physical card in return (5%)

Of course, the survey did not specify whether the e-valentine senders planned to skip physical Valentine's Day cards altogether. But it did pinpoint several reasons why e-cards are popular:

They're free. (53%)
They're convenient if you forget to buy a physical card. (43%)
They have animations. (35%)
They're environmentally friendly. (34%)
They're interactive. (24%)
You don’t need to know the recipient’s postal address. (23%)
Edgier than traditional greeting cards. (13%)
No one has to see you buy them. (9%)
They can contain NSFW (not safe for work) content. (6%)

But before you fire off an e-card containing lewd material to a loved one, keep in mind that 29 percent of those surveyed say they don’t want to see those images in an e-card for Valentine’s Day. They also don’t want to see:

Unicorns (25%)
Pictures of sender’s kids (24%)
Pictures of sender’s spouse (23%)
Kittens (19%)
Picture of sender (16%)
People kissing (16%)
Hearts (13%)
Flowers (13%)