YPulse research shows that Gen Z and Millennials have different ideas about celebrating Valentine’s Day…
YPulse has tracked young people’s feelings about Valentine’s Day through the years, and we’ve long said that their approach is not as traditional as previous generations. Most don’t take the romantic roots of the holiday too seriously, and pressure to have a partner for February 14th have been dying out with these generations. But Gen Z might be taking this alternative approach even farther. Once again, our annual Valentine’s survey dives into how they’re celebrating, what they’re gifting, the influence behind their gift choices, and what they want to see from brands to help make the day special. And our data shows that Gen Z and Millennials are taking different approaches to the holiday. For one, Gen Z is just not as likely to be celebrating:
Millennials are more likely than Gen Z to say they’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, with over two in five saying they will, compared to just half of Gen Z. When we look at age groups, the likelihood of celebrating Valentine’s Day certainly increases with age, with 49% of 13-37-year-olds planning to celebrate compared to 54% of 18-24-year-olds and 64% of 25-39-year-olds. Of course, part of the reasoning here is relationship status: our research shows that Millennials are much more likely to say they’re married or in a committed relationship compared to Gen Z, while Gen Z is far more likely than Millennials to say they are “single and loving it.” And while 59% of both Gen Z and Millennials tell us they don’t feel the pressure to be in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, Gen Z is more likely to say they would actually rather spend the holiday with friends:
Almost half of Gen Z tell YPulse that they would rather spend Valentine’s Day with friends than someone they are dating. This is especially true among Gen Z females, with 52% of this group agreeing with the statement, compared to 45% of Gen Z males. When it comes down to it, many members of this generation just want to hang out with their friends for the holiday. Gen Z is also more likely than Millennials to say Valentine’s Day is mostly a good opportunity to tell their friends and family that they love and appreciate them. In fact, among those Gen Z who do plan to celebrate, they’re more likely to say they plan to spend the day with friends than a significant other. Again, this is especially true of Gen Z females, with 47% of those who are celebrating saying they’ll be spending the holiday with friends. Gen Z not only doesn’t think you need to be in a relationship to celebrate Valentine’s Day, they are actively turning it into a holiday for friendship instead. Brands should certainly pay attention, as Gen Z is also more likely than Millennials to say they plan to buy a gift for friends.
When we look at what their more specific plans for the day, Gen Z’s friend-focus continues:
While Millennials are more likely to go on an in-person date or celebrate by listening to love songs or cooking a special meal, Gen Z are much more likely to say they’re having a Galentine’s celebration or anti-Valentine’s Day celebration with friends. While Galentine’s Day has been around since 2010 and became popularized by the one and only Leslie Knope during Millennials’ time, it’s clearly still resonating with Gen Z more than 10 years later. In fact, 21% of Gen Z females say they’re having a Galentine’s celebration with friends this year compared to 11% of Millennial females. This year, a few brands have even targeted their marketing to reach young singles and women celebrating Galentine’s Day. Absolut partnered with Elfster to launch a “wedding-free” registry exclusively for single people to assemble their own wishlists, from clothing to home goods and yes, alcohol. According to the liquor brand’s senior brand director, The Registry for Me experience wants to bring friends “together like never before regardless of lifestyle. [It] is our love letter to singles everywhere.” Meanwhile, vacation ownership company Club Wyndham is promoting a Parks and Recreation-themed Galentine’s Day weekend getaway package for women who want to treat themselves. Anyone who books the package with Club Wyndham will get a $100 gift card, two bottles of wine, a facial kit, and crochet kit in their rooms, with the latter inspired by “the hand-crocheted flower pens Leslie makes for all her friends on the show.” The suite will also include a portable karaoke microphone for besties to share and sing the night away.
Celebrating with friends isn’t the only thing Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to do on Valentine’s: our data also shows that Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to celebrate by eating chocolate/candy, baking, sending out Valentine’s Day cards, and, of course, to post a Valentine’s Day-themed post on social media. Hashtags like #valentines and #valentinesday on TikTok have billions of views with videos full of young users showing how they celebrate the holiday. Though they’re taking a somewhat different approach, they’re still celebrating and sharing, and brands could potentially take a page out of Absolut or Club Wyndham’s playbook if they want to reach younger consumers in years to come.
YPulse Business users can access the Valentine’s Day behavioral report and data here.
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