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NA vs WE: Valentine’s Day Is More Romantic for Young Europeans

The majority of young consumers in Western Europe and North America plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, but YPulse’s data reveals some interesting differences between the two regions…


  • The majority of young Europeans now celebrate Valentine’s Day, but not as many as their North American peers
  • For most European Gen Z and Millennials, Feb 14th is before anything else a romantic day, to be celebrated with a significant other
  • So these gens are a lot less likely than young consumers in North America to give gifts to family members or friends for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many brands are wondering how they can best reach young consumers in Western Europe for this romantic celebration. YPulse’s recent Valentine’s Day Report shows that the majority of young consumers in Western Europe celebrate Valentine’s Day. That being said, young consumers in the two regions are not exactly displaying the same behaviors when it comes to celebrating the holiday. Brands should be aware of these differences to best reach European Gen Z and Millennials through their marketing ahead of February 14th. These three charts reveal how young consumers in the two regions approach Valentine’s Day differently:

Young Europeans are less likely than their North American peers to be celebrating Valentine’s Day

In North America, more than three in five young consumers celebrate Valentine’s Day, +9pts more than in Western Europe. While Valentine’s Day arguably has its deepest roots and origins in Western Europe, a recent global study by IPSOS revealed that the United States is the country where Valentine’s Day is the most celebrated in the world, and our data proves the romantic celebration is more popular among young North Americans than Western Europeans. But interestingly, both regions follow a similar generational pattern in the way they celebrate Valentine’s Day, with Gen Z being a lot less likely than Millennials to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Young Europeans are less into Valentine’s Day than their North American peers, and are less likely to get excited about the marketing around February 14th. Almost three-quarters of European Gen Z and Millennials agree with the statement “Valentine’s Day is an overrated holiday,” whereas 68% think so in North America. As a result, young Europeans are not as involved in brands’ marketing for Valentine’s Day as their peers across the pond, with only two in five saying they are interested in Valentine’s Day-themed events / promotions from brands, compared to 53% in the U.S. and Canada. This is not to say that brands should not be targeting young consumers ahead of Valentine’s Day, but need to understand how these gens are approaching the holiday when designing campaigns to reach them.

Young Europeans don’t consider spending Valentine’s Day with their friends as much as their North American peers

Young consumers in North America are less likely to be romance-centric for Valentine’s Day compared to young Europeans. But here again, looking more closely at the data reveals a generational divide between Gen Z and Millennials, across the two regions. More than two in five European Gen Z would rather spend Valentine’s Day with friends than with someone they’re dating, compared to one-third of European Millennials. In North America, a similar gap between the two gens exists, with half of Gen Zs agreeing with the statement compared to 43% of Millennials. It turns out that Gen Z—whether living in North America or Western Europe—is more likely to have a friends-focused Valentine’s Day than the older generation.

But things are changing in the old continent, and the concept of Galantine’s Day is slowly gaining traction among Western Europeans: and the hashtag #galentines has racked up more than 2.3M views across Western Europe so far. Brands are picking up on the trend, too: the U.K. fast fashion brand Primark didn’t forget to mention friendship when lining up their special V-Day products—such as the Palentines pajamas—and Glamour recently published a selection of the best Galentine’s Day gifts to help young Brits find gifts for their besties. YPulse’s recent What’s The Situationship? Trend Report dug into what commitment with friends means for young Europeans, and our data shows that more than three in five young Europeans would rather see advertising from brands that celebrate friendships compared to romantic relationships.

Young Europeans aren’t as likely to give gifts to family members / pets as much as in North America

In YPulse’s Valentine’s Day Report, we asked young consumers who they give gifts for Valentine’s Day, and for both North America and Western Europe, young consumers’ top answer was “Crush / Significant other / Spouse.” Valentine’s Day remains a couple-focused celebration for the majority of young consumers, and this is true in both regions. But looking at the other people they’re planning to give to provides insights into the differences in the way young North Americans and Western Europeans celebrate Valentine’s Day. In North America, more than two in five Gen Z and Millennials give gifts to family members and / or pets, whereas they’re not even a third in Western Europe. And it’s the same for friends / co-workers: in North America, 26% of young consumers give gifts to their friends and co-workers, whereas not even one in five young Europeans do so.

Young Americans are more inclusive in the way they celebrate Valentine’s Day, and are more likely to give gifts to anyone whom they love: friends, colleagues, family members, and pets. On the other hand, it is less common for young Europeans to think of other types of relationships than romantic ones for Valentine’s Day. This can be seen in two ways: on the one hand, brands may want to lean into the more romantic Valentine’s Day gifts and celebrations when marketing to young people in the region; on the other, there might be an opportunity to expand the idea of Valentine’s Day in Western Europe to be more inclusive. (Which might inspire more to celebrate, and to buy.)