It’s not you, it’s me: Changing Generational Attitudes Towards Valentine’s Day

It’s not you, it’s me: Changing Generational Attitudes Towards Valentine’s Day 2000 615 Claudia Velilla

On the 14th of February of every year, most continents celebrate what we know as ‘Valentine’s Day’. This day is widely celebrated and known to be one of the biggest days for spending in both the United States and United Kingdom. After all these years, it seems that Valentine’s Day still holds a significant place in a lot of people’s lives. But how much so?

Intrigued by the trends-to-be on this Valentine’s Day, we asked our UK audience the ins and outs of their plans for this upcoming day. The results were fascinating, especially when you compare the answers across different age groups. For this specific research piece we used age groups: 18-24, 25-44 and 45-54.

1 in 2 people still celebrate Valentine’s Day. But not all of the ones celebrating it are in a relationship … In fact, 1 in 5 single people still celebrate it.

What about those who won’t celebrate it this year?

More than half of those who aren’t celebrating Valentine’s Day this year across all age groups, take a cynical approach and state that it is a marketing ploy.

However, 1 in 3 of those who will not be celebrating it this year, express that they prefer to celebrate their love in different ways. Could this suggest that even though this specific event doesn’t represent their relationship, they still deem it important to celebrate their love in other instances?

And what about those who will do something this Valentine’s Day?

From those who are celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, the younger generation (18-24 year olds) are taking a more material approach at expressing their love, with nearly half of them buying presents! (49%). They better start saving we would recommend.

On the contrary, the older generations (25-54 year olds) prefer a more intimate celebration of their relationship and go for organising a special evening at home (50%). Probably best, given the weather in the UK. 

As mentioned earlier, it seems that Valentine’s Day isn’t seen as an exclusive day for those in romantic relationships (glad to hear that), and actually, from those singles out there, 35% of them will be celebrating by having a gathering with friends (don’t forget friends come first, might come in handy to remember that one day!). This could showcase that there is a way of celebrating Valentine’s Day for everyone. As the saying goes … ‘better to be alone than in bad company’, or in this case ‘better to be single, [whoop whoop!] and with good friends than in bad company’. 

Presents, presents, presents … and outdoor experiences with a hint of flowers (if your partner is at least 45 years)

Nosy as we are, we asked our audience what their present preferences are for this Valentine’s Day. Just to give you an overall idea, across all age groups, being active seems to be the number one choice this year (special round of applause to all those outdoor advertisements) together with a nice dinner out. In second place we have … some lovely flowers (we didn’t ask if they were thinking of something a bit more daring than red roses, white daisies are actually the best thing ever). And last but not least (a lot of people would agree with us here), is jewellery (a lifelong commitment ring? If so, good luck). 

If we look into some of the differences across age groups, we find that those who are 45-54 are more likely than the other age groups to buy flowers as a first choice. Those who are 35-44 are more likely to buy dinner as a first choice. Those younger ones, 18-24, are more likely to choose an outdoor experience as a first choice. Now you can guess what you might be getting this Valentine’s Day. 

Fun facts about Valentine’s Day

The day gets its name from a famous saint, who unfortunately was not very lucky in life. Rumour has it, emperor Claudius II had banned marriage in the third century AD because he believed it distracted soldiers from fighting. Priest Valentine thought this was a bit unfair, so he started marrying people in secret. Of course, as soon as Claudius II found out about this, he imprisoned priest Valentine and eventually sentenced him to death. It is said that during his time in prison, priest Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and on the day of his death sentence he slipped a love note to her signed ‘from your Valentine’. Poor guy.


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