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2 in 5 Young Consumers Just Want to Hang Out with Their Friends This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is this week, and our stats show that for many Gen Z and Millennials, friendship and family are the focus…

Last year we told you that Millennials aren’t very traditional when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Although they spent a lot of money on flowers, chocolates, and cards, they also throw anti-Valentine’s Day celebrations, and tend to have mixed feelings about the holiday. This year, it’s even more clear that they’re redefining the holiday, and making friends and family the focus. Although 63% of 13-39-year-olds plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Friday, according to YPulse’s research the majority don’t feel pressure to be in a relationship. Our Extended Singledom research found that young consumers are staying single longer than any generation before them, and are more supportive than ever of those who choose to be single. With finding a partner an eventual, but not immediate goal for many of these generations, they’re spending more years than ever unpartnered—shifting their priorities. The majority of single young people tell us that romantic relationships aren’t their focus right now, and 82% of single women say spending time with their friends is more important than finding a partner. All of this, of course, has some impact on a holiday that was traditionally about celebrating romantic love. While many young people will indeed be spending Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner, here are three stats from our recent survey on the holiday that show a significant number are happy to make Valentine’s Day about friends and family:

The majority think Valentine’s Day is just a good opportunity to tell friends and family that they love & appreciate them.

Three quarters of young consumers agree that “Valentine’s Day is mostly a good opportunity to tell my friends and family that I love and appreciate them.” Gen Z, who is more likely to be single than Millennials, are even more likely to feel this way, with 82% agreeing with the statement. Interestingly, married Millennials are even more likely than unmarried Millennials to feel that Valentine’s Day is mostly about acknowledging friends and family—showing that it’s definitely not just unpartnered young consumers who are shifting the holiday away from romance. In marketing and messaging, brands should be sure to highlight all of the different relationships Gen Z and Millennials might be celebrating, and give them gift ideas beyond their romantic partners. (See below for more on this…)



Two in five unmarried young people would actually rather spend Valentine’s Day with friends than someone they’re dating.

It’s not that they’re spending the holiday with friends because they don’t have dates: 43% of unmarried 13-39-year-olds would actually prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with friends than someone they’re dating. (That’s an increase from the 38% who said the same in 2019.) Again, Gen Z is more likely than Millennials top feel this way, with over a third (36%) of Gen Z women, and half of Gen Z men saying they would rather spend Valentine’s Day with friends. Let’s face it, these generations might just be over the hype—and happy to opt out of the potential pressure to have a “perfect date” just because of a holiday. Brands offering events unrelated to being coupled up will attract those young consumers wanting to celebrate. By the way, with a new poll by Zulily finding that 28% of Americans plan to spend Valentine’s Day with their pet, Gen Z and Millennials are clearly not the only ones who want to steer clear of romance on the holiday.


Among those giving gifts for the holiday, nearly a third plan to give to friends—and over a third plan to give to mom.

Three in five 13-39-year-olds told us they were planning to buy a gift for someone this Valentine’s Day—and while significant other/spouse was at the top of the list of people they planned to buy for, a significant number told us they plan to buy for mom and friends as well. Last year, 23% of Valentine’s young gift-givers told us they would be giving a gift to friends—and that number has increased to 31% this year. The number who plan to by a gift for mom has also increased—and a full 49% of Millennial males said they would be buying a Valentine’s gift for mom this year. So what does this mean for brands? Non-romantic Valentine’s Day gifts (houseplants for Millennials or LED lights for Gen Z) are a good way to go, and acknowledging that mom should be getting some love from kids on Valentine’s will likely appeal to both mom and her Gen Z or Millennial kids.