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Promise Rings or Matching Tattoos: How WE Gen Z and Millennials Symbolize Romantic Commitment

The majority of young Europeans have bought something to signify the importance of a romantic relationship, and they think these items best symbolize it…


  • Most young Europeans have bought something to signify the importance of a romantic relationship
  • Rings are still the most common sign of commitment for young people
  • But European Gen Z likes everything matching to symbolize their committed relationship: sneakers, hoodies, and tattoos

YPulse’s recent What’s The Situationship? Trend Report digs into how European Gen Z and Millennials are dating, and all the ways they’re redefining and rethinking commitment. While these gens are undoubtedly facing a complex dating scene, creating new (nebulous) phases of relationships, and delaying marriage, that doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned all concept of traditional commitment. The majority do want to get married eventually, and the majority of those over 18-years-old have been in a committed relationship. And they’re still making purchases to symbolize those relationships. We found that 57% have bought something to signify the importance of a romantic relationship, and asked European 13-39-year-olds what objects they think best symbolize their romantic commitment to a crush, date, spouse, significant other, etc. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, brand should be interested in their answers—both traditional and non:

Bar chart showing how many Gen Z and Millennials say different items symbolize commitment to a romantic partner

Rings are still the most popular symbols of commitment to a significant other in WE

Gen Z and Millennials are both most likely to say that engagement / wedding rings are symbols of a significant romantic relationship. Millennials, who are more likely to be thinking about long-term commitment than the younger gen, are more likely than Gen Z to think that engagement / wedding rings are symbols of commitment—and of course, are more likely to have the money to buy such products. European Millennials are keen to display their commitment to their partner, and our survey also reveals that two-thirds say they’ve bought something to show the importance of their romantic relationship, +29pts more than the younger gen.

European Gen Z are loving everything matching to show their commitment

While rings are still the top symbol of commitment among Gen Z as well, this younger gen is more likely than Millennials to see less expensive items like stuffed animals (think #jellycat), and flowers as relationship symbols. Their age and spending capabilities absolutely factors in here.

But interestingly, this gen is also more likely to see matching clothes, shoes, and tattoos as symbols of commitment as well. While YPulse’s data shows that Gen Z is still less likely to actually have tattoos themselves, social media has helped normalize the concept of couple tattoos for the gen. In fact, videos related to couples tattoos currently have 487.9M views on TikTok. Our data indicates that a significant number of them don’t just see tattoos as fun expressions of creativity, but as symbols of romantic commitment as well—and as this gen ages up we could see non-traditional romantic purchases get even more popular.