14 Feb 2012
Love is in the air, and as today is Valentine's day, it’s a time of year when many couples seal their relationship with a marriage proposal. But there may be good news for the wallets of the men buying the rings, according to a study from London Business School’s Dr Gabrielle Adams.
Dr Adams, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and co-author Professor Frank Flynn from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, analysed the correlation between the value of a gift and level of appreciation. They found that in reality receivers don’t appreciate expensive gifts that much more than inexpensive ones.
“Men seem to feel pressure to propose with a really expensive ring, thinking that it will signal thoughtfulness, when in reality their future fiancées don’t differentiate between more and less expensive diamonds” says Dr. Adams. “This isn’t simply a gender difference – it highlights the differences in how givers and receivers perceive the costs of gifts.”
Through surveying engaged couples online the study found that men constantly thought the more they spent on their rings, the more their fiancées appreciated them. Fiancées, on the other hand, did not rate themselves any more appreciative if the rings were more costly.
Engagement rings are one of the largest ticket items throughout the year and, according to the United States Diamond Information Centre, around 84% of American brides receive a diamond engagement ring. Now that is a sparkly industry.
However, it is not all bad news for those already in the queue at Tiffany’s cashdesk.
“This shows that men shouldn’t feel bad if they can’t afford to buy the ring they really want,” says Professor Flynn. “The fact that the thought counts more than the price tag is important for people to realize, especially in these challenging economic times when people are really strapped for cash.”
So for those romantics, keep in mind that it really is the thought that counts and it’s likely she will just be happy that you asked.