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…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Time I could be sleeping is time I spend on social media. It's now part of my waking up and going to sleep routine and, for those reasons, I'm feeling done with social media."—Male, 24, CA

MasterCard created an audio-only logo for Generation Voice Activated. The finance brand has debuted a sound they’ll play when people check out using their MasterCard. YPulse data shows that 29% of 18-36-year-olds own a smart speaker device, and that number is only expected to grow along with the use of other audio-activated devices. MasterCard wants to make their brand memorable without visual cues to tap into the $40 billion in revenue voice shopping is expected to generate by 2022. (Fast Company)

Brands are acting uncannily human on Twitter—is it working? Many brands (mainly the food and beverage kind) are “behav[ing] like real people with idiosyncratic personalities” on social media to connect with young consumers. This allows them to “stand out it in a crowded marketplace," explains one marketing professor. And Twitter users are engaging: from Sunny D to Steak-umm, brands are going viral for nihilist, and even depressing, first-person posts. (Vice)

Millennials are buying more greeting cards this Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimates the industry made as much as $933 million yesterday, compared to $894 million last year. Experts say that Millennials are behind the boost as they buy more expensive, albeit fewer, cards that often have personalized flourishes and functions (like audio). They’re also opting for IRL cards over e-cards because, as one enthusiast explains, "I like giving cards because you can hold it, unlike a text or email.” (NPR)

Brands went beyond romantic messaging for Valentine’s Day this year. Some catered to Millennials’ Treat Yo’Self mentality with collaborations like Tinder and Homesick’s “Single, Not Sorry” candle, while others celebrated Galentine’s Day. Target stocked themed decorations for those hosting girls-only get-togethers and Kay Jewelers set aside a site category for Galentine’s Day gifts. Finally, the NRF estimates that pet owners spent $886 million on their furry friends on Valentine’s Day, and retailers like PetSmart advertised accordingly. (ContentStandard)

More college grads are taking on retail jobs as stores up the ante for new hires. Yes, the trend is fueled by student debt and other financial factors, but also because stores that focus on experience expect more than ever from their customer service reps. Workers at Sweaty Betty, Everlane, and Warby Parker are reportedly trained with workshops, tests, and homework. But while, as one expert explains, “Customers are also coming in with much higher expectations of what level of service they’re going to receive,” retail wages aren’t keeping pace. (Refinery29)

Quote of the Day: “The best thing about social media is to connect with people across geographical boundaries and cultures. I love interacting with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”—Female, 22, PA

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