American Millennials Are Putting Love on a Budget This Valentine’s Day

The cost of love is being put on a budget this Valentine’s Day as consumers say they plan to cut costs in half this year due to inflation.

To understand Americans’ current sentiment around the upcoming holiday, Trustpilot surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. adults currently in a relationship at the end of 2023 finding a great deal of stress tied to spending. According to the company’s findings, many U.S. consumers, including 33 percent of Millennials and 21 percent of Gen Z respondents, are feeling more pressure to spend this year compared to 2023 — even if they feel they are unable to do so.

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Across all generations, 33 percent of respondents said they would spend 50 percent less this year for Valentine’s Day than last year. The authors of the report said that the desire to spend less on the holiday has been growing year-over-year as they look to past years’ results. Moreover, 30 percent of consumers said that given the cost they would not be participating in the holiday this year at all.

Alicia Skubick, chief customer officer at Trustpilot, said that while last year’s Valentine’s Day survey results were eye-opening as consumers cut down on spending due to the cost-of-living crisis, this year is possibly worse.

For those who are celebrating Valentine’s Day, a quarter of Gen Z and Millennial consumers told the company they will need to make cuts in other areas including cost-of-living needs like gas, food or rent. A quarter of Millennials additionally said they are considering going into credit card debt to afford gifts and expenses tied to Valentine’s Day.

In addition to stress over inflation and the rising cost of living, respondents told Trustpilot that expectations around Valentine’s Day have reached a new high. The average cost that respondents reported feeling the pressure to spend on gifts in 2024 is $157.52 — an expectation that 21 percent of Americans in relationships say they feel obligated to meet.

When prompted, consumer respondents said that if they did not meet Valentine’s Day expectations, they were worried that their partner or significant other would buy something for themselves instead (21 percent), insist they make up for it another time (17 percent), give the silent treatment (16 percent), cancel Valentine’s Day plans altogether (10 percent) or even break up the relationship (10 percent).

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