How much do singles in America spend on Valentine’s Day?

Couples aren’t the only ones buying gifts on Valentine’s Day.

For those who are single on Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to become jealous of all the happy couples sharing cute pictures with romantic captions on social media. If you’re brave enough to venture outside on this love-struck holiday, you’ll be surrounded by constant public displays of affection whether you go to the mall, a movie theater, or a restaurant. Singles seem to have it hard no matter where they turn on Valentine’s Day.

A survey of 2,101 American adults commissioned by and conducted by global research provider Pureprofile in January 2017, found that the self-gifting business on Valentine’s Day is largely funded by those who are single or separated. On this holiday, 27% of single people and 33% of separated people plan to treat themselves, as opposed to 7% of those who are married (or those in domestic relationships). On average, Americans will spend $55 on self-gifting. With 124.6 million single people in America (according to the 2014 Bureau of Labor and Statistics), that’s an estimated $1.85 billion dollars that singles will spend on themselves on the day of love.

Even if you don’t have a significant other, you might be surprised to find that someone else close to you had you in mind on Valentine’s Day. People buy gifts for friends, children, and other family members as well. In fact, 23% of people will buy their friends a gift; 44% of people will buy their children a gift; and 32% will buy other family members a gift.

Who receives the most on Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day is admittedly a bit one-sided, as you can probably tell by all the pink and red decorations that emerge at the beginning of February. Women are on the favorable side of gift-giving, as 43% of men will buy gifts for their wives while 38% of women plan to buy gifts for their husbands. It’s the same result for those who are dating, where the scales are tipped towards women, and more men lose out on receiving a gift.

When it comes to the value of the gifts, we see women at the top again. Here’s a breakdown of what gifts are typically worth based on the recipient:

  • Wives – $232
  • Girlfriends – $151
  • Husbands – $66
  • Boyfriends – $53

Valentine's day gift icon


Gift-giving isn’t just for public relationships with titles. Those with private romances will also be shopping around for something special – 17% of Americans plan to buy a gift for a secret lover. Almost double the number of men admitted to buying a gift for a secret lover than women (25% to 14% respectively). The younger you are, the more likely you are to buy a gift for you secret admirer. Millennials are the naughtiest generation, with 23% planning to buy a gift for a secret lover, compared to 14% of Gen X’ers and 8% of Baby Boomers.

Valentine’s Day can also be a chance to strengthen the bond of friendship

Just because you’re single, doesn’t mean you have to be alone on Valentine’s Day. In fact, more than half (51%) of women will celebrate Valentine’s Day with their friends, and almost a third (31%) of men will do the same. Interestingly, it’s Gen X’ers who are most likely to buy gifts for friends on Valentine’s Day – 55%; compared to 43% of Millennials and 28% of Baby Boomers. Romantic love is great, but the platonic love of friendship can be just as fulfilling on Valentine’s Day.

5 inexpensive ways to treat yourself on Valentine’s Day

  • Buy a new book (~$10): Whether you’re an avid reader or only read occasionally, it’s hard to deny the thrill of getting engrossed in a good book. Use the holiday as a chance to read a mystery novel you won’t want to put down, or perhaps an autobiography of one of your favorite celebrities.
  • Eat some artisan cheese (~$20): If you want to feel fancy for the evening, head to your grocery store and pick up an artisan cheese. Artisan cheeses are made by hand, making them taste more complex and look more aesthetic. You could try something like Brie or Burrata, and pair it with your favorite cracker or bread.
  • Binge on your favorite TV show (~$8): You can use the holiday to watch your favorite TV show non-stop for hours. Simply sign up for a video streaming service like Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Video and let the binging begin.
  • Visit a local coffee shop (~$5): Consider trying a new flavor at the local coffee shop. You could even bring your laptop and surf the web while enjoying the ambiance.
  • Take a bubble bath (~$8): A bubble bath is a great way to relax and soothe the body. Play some instrumental music and dim the lights to really set the mood.

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