Valentine’s Day needs to open its heart to include all kinds of love.

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25 January 2019

The majority of GB adults (70%) agree that Valentine’s Day should be about celebrating all kinds of love, not just conventional forms of love.

Walnut Unlimited’s data shows that only a third (36%) of the adult population say they’re going to be celebrating Valentine’s Day, leaving almost two thirds (64%) without any plans. So, why are such a large majority of Brits choosing not to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? Even for those in a relationship for whom the day is targeted towards, over half (54%) are still choosing not to celebrate because it has become too commercialised.

Unsurprisingly, at this time of year there is an overwhelming focus from brands on conventional love: seen in the constant stream of red love hearts, roses and romantic meals for two on TV and up and down the high street; all foregrounding sexual and romantic love ahead of friendship or self-love.

Walnut’s insight, gathered from Understanding the Nation, a nationally representative monthly survey that tracks and gauges the feelings of the British public, shows that 77% of those not in a relationship are not celebrating because they don’t feel its relevant to them. But even for those in a relationship for whom the day is targeted towards, over half (54%) are choosing not to celebrate because it has become too commercialised.

Despite big pushes from global brands and retailers on activities such as Galentine’s Day and International Singles Day to encourage the celebration of different kinds of love, human understanding shows that the behaviour of the nation does not match their beliefs about what Valentine’s Day should be in 2019.

There is a clear gap between people’s beliefs and the actions they choose to make on this day. This is notable, as only 3% are choosing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends and a tiny 1% are planning to celebrate the occasion alone this year.

This is evidence for brands and retailers globally that the current market of people without plans on Valentine’s Day is full of individuals who believe that they would like to have a means of celebrating but are still choosing not to. So, should brands be leading the way and diversifying their offering around Valentine’s Day? Or should the onus be on consumers and society to normalise non-romantic love and reap the personal benefits that Valentine’s Day can bring?

It’s clear to see the majority of Brits are missing out on the opportunity to celebrate love on this special day: whether that’s with a partner, alone or with friends.

By Bessie Pike, Research Executive at Walnut Unlimited. 

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