Ahh, love – much has been made of the sense that perhaps today love – in its purest form, is simply a dusty relic doomed to sit on some faux-wood paneled basement shelf next to a lava lamp and perhaps a mood ring or two. Op-ed pieces feature cynical lumbersexuals sharing hard-edged thoughts on the dominance of the hook-up, and cite their need for self expression and life experience as obstacles to l’amour. The rise of apps such as Tinder have rendered the art of connection something on par with GTA, and the latest polls from CNN show that this cohort has the lowest rate of marriage in history. So, what’s up, kids? Is love, the hearts and flowers/moony eyed, bad poetry writing type, doomed? Well, dammit, we say no.
Lets look at the facts. This year, Americans will spend an estimated $17.6 billion on Valentine’s Day—that is the second highest grossing holiday on the calendar, coming second only to Christmas, and ahead of Mother’s Day, Halloween, and Easter. So just whose wallet is at the mercy of Cupid’s arrow, and what are they buying?
You might be surprised to discover that while overall consumer spending is down, Valentine’s Day-related spending is on the rise. For example, in 2001, the average American spent $82.60 on this pink-hued lover’s holiday. In 2008, at the start of the economic decline, the average spending was $122.98. This year, those celebrating will spend a whopping $126.03. And exactly who is celebrating? Well, it ain’t just the old folks. Actually, the group shelling out the most on sentimentality are – yup – millennials. The 25 to 34 age range spends the most at $176.85, with the 65-plus category spending the least at $79.97. The rest go as follows: 18-24 spend $148.05; 35-44 spend $141.82; 45-54 spend $122.43; 55-64 spend $88.13. So it would seem that our jaded and sentiment -weary digerati are actually throwing down in order to love it up.
We checked in with our own millennial panel to see where they stood, and here’s what they told us: Over 60% of those we asked told us ‘Love is the answer’ and that it was worth the search. Millennials want love in their life, and although it may not be easy, they are willing to do the time to make someone ‘mine’. And while over 45% of those polled scoffed at the Hallmark version of Valentines Day, (as if they needed a nationally designated day to love up their loved ones!!), they assured us that they expressed their love often and with meaning. Couple that with over 35% told us they were “ super pumped to do something cool and surprising for their sweetie,” I think its safe to say that love is well and alive in the right-swipe era. Even the 20% that ‘fessed up that today’s bleak financial outlook and tough times relegated love to their internal back burner weren’t rejecting baby-boy Cupid – they are just taking a rain check.
Valentines Day is real for this crew – over 50% told us they were looking forward to making a memory and having a romantic night out…(sigh…) so either way you slice it… our screened-in nation wants to reach out and touch someone. And lets bet that they will it with style.