How Singles Can Enjoy & Give Back to Their Community on V-Day
DENVER, February 1, 2018 — The percentage of Americans celebrating Valentine’s Day has been shrinking over the last decade. It’s not that we are less romantic. In fact, those celebrating the holiday still exceeds $18 billion. But demographics are working against the tradition, as the number of singles around the world continues to grow.
Valentine’s Day used to be the day singles loved to hate. But as the population of singles continues to grow, outnumbering married couples in many countries and cities, singles are letting their married and coupled friends have this day without any hard feelings.
After all, the singles lifestyle is where it’s at for the other 364 days a year. On average in 2017, there were about 127.7 million single Americans, age 16 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That represents 50.1% of the civilian, non-institutional population in the United States. In metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, singles make up more than half of the population.
“The days of singles feeling sorry for themselves on Valentine’s Day are over,” said Devon Kerns, chief visionary officer of Social Capital Agency (SoCap), a full-service branding and marketing firm that specializes in helping companies connect with millennials and, more specifically, singles.
“Retailers, restaurants, and destinations that spend millions marketing Valentine’s Day to consumers are missing out on the rapidly growing population of singles who have more spending power and, frankly, more inclination to invest their dollars on dining, fashion, travel, entertainment, and leisure,” said Kerns.
There is no clear data on how much companies will spend on advertising, promotions, and other gimmicks in an effort to get their share of Valentine’s Day consumer spending, which topped $18.2 billion in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Last year’s spending was down from a $19.7 billion spent in 2016 and less than the $18.9 billion spent in 2015.
Furthermore, data from the NRF show that only 54% celebrate the holiday, a decline of 11 percentage points from the 63% of Americans who celebrated in 2007. That number may continue to slip amid the rising tide of singles.
“In addition to the growing population of singles, the whole idea of Valentine’s Day does not resonate with large portions of millennials or Gen Zers, whether they are single, coupled, or married. The highly commercialized aspect of the holiday simply doesn’t sit well with members of these generations who value authenticity over vapid marketing ploys,” said Kerns.
So, while married and dating couples prepare to spend north of $100 to celebrate Valentine’s Day, SoCap’s Devon Kerns suggests that singles and others who represent the 50% of Americans who shun the holiday use the time, energy and money that might otherwise be spent on Valentine’s Day to improve the world around them.
“Imagine if the nation’s 128 million singles, instead of spending $10 on a card and flowers for a significant other, donated that money to the charity of their choice. That would be nearly $1.3 billion going toward non-profits. Or if instead of spending two hours at an expensive dinner, spent that time volunteering at food pantry? The impact would be immense,” said Kerns.
SoCap suggested the following ways that singles and others not celebrating Valentine’s Day could spend their time, energy and money:
Non-Valentine Valentine’s Day Spending Ideas
Practice Some Self Love – Get your mind out of the gutter…not that kind of self-love. But, the kind where you focus on physical fitness, mental well-being, and emotional health. Take a yoga class, go for a hike, explore a local museum or art gallery, spend two hours reading a great book.
Donate time and/or money to charity – If every single in America donated $10 to a charitable cause on Valentine’s Day, it would mean nearly $1.3 billion for the nation’s non-profits….in just one day. Alternatively, if they spent two hours of their day volunteering that would be 302,000,000 man hours of volunteer work. The impact of that would be far greater than any proclamation of love achieved through the purchase of roses or greetings card. Just a few of the charitable organizations that would be particularly appropriate for a Valentine’s Day donation include, American Heart Association, Donate Life America, American Red Cross, The Humane Society of the United States, Save the Children, and Global Giving.
Random Acts of Kindness – The impact of kindness cannot be overstated, not only for the object of the kindness, but for the person performing the act of kindness. According to data cited by the University of California Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, about 50% of participants in one study reported feeling stronger and more energetic. Others said they were calmer, less depressed, and had a greater sense of self worth. These acts of kindness do not need to be grand gestures. Just small acts will have an enormous impact on an individual’s day. A smile and a compliment given to a stranger on the train, picking up a fellow patron’s tab at the local tavern, shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk after it snows, pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru line. These are just some of the small things you can do to brighten someone’s day. But, if you need more ideas, there are some great ones at these websites: