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Young Consumers’ Top Valentine’s Day Gifts & Where They Buy Them

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we asked young consumers what they want, what they’re giving, and where they’re buying it…

Millennials and Gen Z have always taken Valentine’s Day less-than-seriously, and this year seems to be on track to be no different. Nearly three in four 13-35-year-olds say the holiday is overrated according to Ypulse’s most recent monthly survey, and most say they don’t really care about Valentine’s Day. The generation is known for having a sense of humor about the day, and though most say they plan to celebrate it this year, many will be doing so without significant others, choosing to spend the holiday with friends or family instead.

According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers are on track to spend a record-breaking $19.6 billion, with each shopper spending an average of $143.56. And Millennials and Gen Z will be digging into their own wallets to add to that over-the-top total. Half of 13-35-year-olds are planning to give a gift this year, with the top recipients being moms, significant others/spouses, and friends. To find out what they’re shopping for, we asked 1000 13-35-year-olds to divulge their gift plans this year.* And to find out if they’ll be getting what they want, we also asked them to tell us what they hope to receive from their Valentines this year. Here’s what we found out:

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of the kinds of gifts that 13-35-year-olds want from their Valentines, and what they’re planning to give. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most highly thought of. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

What They’re Giving


  1. Candy/Chocolate

  2. Jewelry

  3. Flowers

  4. Clothes

  5. Card

  6. Dinner

  7. Gift Card

  8. Stuffed Animal/ Teddy Bear

  9. Watch

  10. Book

Much like in years past, the top gifts young consumers plan to give this holiday are the classic Valentine’s staples: chocolate, jewelry, flowers, and clothes. But what they want changes the game a bit:

What They Want


  1. Candy/ Chocolate

  2. Jewelry

  3. Flowers

  4. A gesture of love

  5. Dinner

  6. Anything

  7. Clothes

  8. Gift Card

  9. Something meaningful

  10. Money

A gesture of love, something meaningful, and money made the top ten for what young consumers want, none of which broke the top 20 for what they plan to give. But the first two align with 13-35-year-olds’ penchant for experience and meaning over consumer goods. Eighty-four percent of Millennials and Gen Z agree with the statement “It doesn’t matter how much a Valentine’s gift costs, as long as it’s meaningful,” and 45% will be going on a date to celebrate the holiday. “Anything” also made the list of what they hope to receive, upholding the general sentiment of 13-35-year-olds that Valentine’s isn’t all about consumption, or even romance; it’s about celebrating the people in their lives that they love and appreciate.

As far as where they’re planning to shop, it should surprise no one that over half of young consumers are planning to surf the web for the perfect gift:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Always the deal-hunters, 13-35-year-olds also say they’re interested in Valentine’s Day themed events and promotions from brands. So while this may not be the biggest holiday for young consumers, brands do have an opportunity to capture their hearts this year, even if that means celebrating their anti-Valentine’s sentiments.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here