With Valentine’s Day less than a week away at time of writing, CivicScience took the pulse of Americans to see what this year’s holiday of love will bring.
While this was once a day for dining out, the pandemic has shifted intentions. This year, 9% of U.S. adults plan on going to a restaurant or bar on Valentine’s Day. This is up three percentage points from 2021. However, while the percentage of adults with plans to do something for the holiday now match 2020’s figure, intention to dine out on Valentine’s Day still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.
When you think about Valentine’s Day, you think about gifts. This year, candy and chocolate top the list, followed by flowers and gift cards. What’s notable is buying experiences as a Valentine’s Day gift is up since last year, inching back to the 2020 figure.
Despite the evolution of the holiday at large due to the pandemic, 38% of U.S. adults say that Valentine’s Day is just as important to them now as it was before Covid began, and 6% say it’s even more important. The flip side of that is 14% say the holiday is less important to them now.
Among those who celebrate the day, younger adults have experienced the greatest amount of change in whether or not they value the day. This age group is both the most likely to say the day is more and less important to them.
In a similar vein, non-married people are more likely than their married counterparts to have changed their opinion on Valentine’s Day one way or another, since the start of the pandemic, perhaps a proxy for age. Non-married people are both twice as likely to say the holiday is more important, and ten percentage points more likely to say the day is less important to them.
A fascinating indicator of Valentine’s Day’s importance may be employment status, as those who are working remotely and those who have lost their job say that this holiday is more important to them now than it was before. Perhaps a holiday on the horizon gives these individuals something to look forward to as an excuse to get out of the house or break up their normal routine? Unemployed people who have lost their job or cannot find work are also the most likely to say the day is less important to them potentially due to financial priorities.
The data reveal that while those who have been more stressed of late are slightly more likely to devalue Valentine’s Day, they’re also much more likely to be prioritizing it more. So while some are too stressed to think about the day, others may be using it as a stress-reducer and a bright spot on the proverbial horizon.
The notion that planning to celebrate the day could help reduce stress is strengthened by the fact that the happiest people are placing more value on Valentine’s Day now than they were before the pandemic.
The final data show that those who feel Valentine’s Day is more important now than it was before are also the most likely to agree that Valentine’s Day is giving them something to look forward to this year.
So while the pandemic has changed many plans, and everyone may still not be sweet on the holiday, for many Valentine’s Day could be offering some (temporary) hope for the future.