Here's How Much We Spend on Gifts for Our Bosses vs. Our Significant Others


Everyone loves getting a gift, right? Giving a gift, though, can be ... well, it can be a journey in and of itself, one filled with equal parts worry and triumph. We stress about the process, resort to asking friends the Internet for advice, and — perhaps most anxiously — worry about how much we should spend.

With Black Friday looming ahead next month, Mic dug into how much we spend on gifts for the various people in our lives, from siblings and significant others to parents and coworkers. According to the 533 people who responded to our Google Consumer Survey, the starkest difference lies in how much we shell out for significant others versus our coworkers and bosses.

When it comes to birthdays, holidays and other occasions to be generous with a significant other, 62% of people reported spending over $50 on that special someone. In fact, 30.1% said they spend $100 or more on a gift. 

On the other hand, when buying a gift for a coworker or your boss, Andrew Jackson may be the only face gracing the bill you're likely need. According to the survey, 73% of respondents spend $20 or less on a gift for a coworker or boss.

Mic/Google Consumer Surveys
Mic/Google Consumer Survey

And yet... It's intuitive that we spend more on the ones we truly love (or, you know, really like a lot). But that logic doesn't always extend to the everyday, which we tend to spend with the people ranked lowest on our list. 

Think about how much time we spend at work, logging long hours and perfecting the watercooler (er, Gchat) chit-chat. Americans average longer hours than in any other industrialized nation, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited by ABC News. The 40-hour workweek, which has long defined "full-time" employment, is far from the norm: Only 8% of employees in the United States actually work 40 hours or less, according to a 2013-2014 Gallup poll. That's especially true for millennial managers, who are more likely to report increasing work hours, according to an Ernst & Young survey.

In short, we spend a shit-ton of time with our coworkers and bosses – people we like, but don't truly care enough about to spend more than $20.


With our significant others, on the other hand, it's easy to not spend the quality time we need together. We spend so much of our days on our phones, especially on social media, that we remain plugged into our networks at the expense of our IRL interactions. It's rare to find anyone who can manage to keep screen time from butting into their personal relationships.

According to a 2014 Pew Research report, "25% of married or partnered adults who text have texted their partner when they were both home together." For real.

But we know who really matters in our lives — and those are the people we open our wallets for, when push comes to shove (you know, when those anniversaries and birthdays come creeping around the calendar). We're not even afraid to splurge: Mic's survey also found that 17.3% of people have spent between $300 to $599 on a single gift for someone. 

And you can bet it wasn't for the boss.