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The evolution of Valentine’s Day
  • February 09 2012

Valentine’s Day has evolved over the years from a day of romance to an occasion that celebrates many types of relationships. Increasingly, it is becoming a celebration of those we care about—family, friends, co-workers, classmates, etc.

Over the past five years, spending on those “other than” significant others/spouses has increased from 33 percent of overall Valentine’s Day spending in 2007 to 42 percent this year. So, be it your wife or sister or mother, friends or co-workers, Valentine’s Day represents an occasion, a reason to express your love for all of them through the various means that have become popular these days

Valentine’s Day seems to have shifted from romantic love to all sorts of love—even to “like.”  83 percent of consumers who gave Valentine’s gifts gave one to their children, vs. 66 percent who gave a gift to their significant other.

According to Open Table’s Survey of Dining and Reservation Trends, nearly three quarters (76 percent) of diners said they would happily dine out with friends on this traditionally romantic “date night.”

22 percent plan to spend the evening with a friend/friends according to Lab42’s Social Networking Study (from February 12, 2011).

Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards. An estimated 650 million Valentine’s cards are exchanged by children aged 6 to 10 with classmates, teachers and family. Parents receive about 20 percent of Valentine cards.

Starbucks is launching a new version of its cup app to help spread love across the nation and “Celebrate every love.” It brings to life the limited-edition cups that feature hearts and specially targets with an augmented reality twist. The new Valentine’s Day application, which allows one to create and send a personalized animated Valentine or a festive Starbucks Card eGift, will be available to download.,

Valentine’s Day is expanding beyond our circle of friends. Charitable shopping sites (e.g., Volunteer Match, Red Campaign, Henry’s Hearts, Greater Good or Shop4charity), the Globallove Campaign (supporting ethically made, fair trade gifts), and “charitable weddings” (I Do Foundation helps set up charitable gift registries) are designed to help others.

Beyond human relationships, the National Retail Federation’s survey indicates that 4.5 percent of respondents intend to give Valentine’s gifts to their pets, about $6.3 million worth. This is part of a larger trend by pet parents who increasingly include their pets during holidays.

Valentine’s Day is taking on new meaning as an occasion. It is becoming more inclusive and more participatory, just like the citizens of The New America. It represents an occasion that provides teaching moments and the creation of new traditions for family, friends, neighborhood or workplace. Good thing, as relationships in America are constantly evolving, according to census findings.


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