From Sweethearts to situationships: 2024 Valentine’s Day trends

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching (a helpful reminder), and ahead of the romantic holiday, Sweethearts put out a collection of “situationship” hearts with “messages as blurry as your relationship.” The candies are targeted at Gen Zers in an aim to get buy-in from consumers who may not be head over heels for celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Love is blind: Valentine’s Day isn’t only for romantics. Some 60% of US adults believe the holiday is for both romantic and platonic relationships, according to YouGov. Brands should see that as an opportunity to reach young, single, or not-quite-committed consumers in creative ways this Valentine’s Day.

Photo: Spangler Candy Company

Cupid’s arrow: Valentine’s Day spending will total $25.8 billion this year, down from $25.9 billion last year and from 2020’s peak of $27.4 billion, per National Retail Federation (NRF) data.

  • Some 53% of people in the US will celebrate the holiday, down 10 percentage points from 15 years ago, per NRF.
  • But 29% of those not celebrating still plan to mark the occasion in some way, which creates an entry point for brands.

Young love: Situationships are big right now, at least among Gen Z. The term for an undefined relationship was in the running for Oxford’s word of the year in 2023, but was beaten by rizz and a few others. (More on that in our guide to Gen Z slang.)

Be mine: For those celebrating Valentine’s Day in the more traditional sense, it’s business as usual.

  • Total spending on significant others is expected to reach a record $14.2 billion this Valentine’s Day, per NRF data.
  • The most popular place for Valentine’s Day shopping will be online, with 40% of people expecting to shop there. Some 33% will shop in department stores, while 31% will head to discount stores, and 17% will buy from florists, the NRF notes.
  • Candy (at 57%), greeting cards (40%), and flowers (39%) will be the most popular gifts. But don’t discount an evening out, which ranks at No. 4 with 32%.
  • At Target, the pink Stanley Cup has already caused a frenzy among eager shoppers.


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First Published on Feb 2, 2024