Why Do Couples Who Met Online Spend More on Valentine's Day?

Couples who met online are twice as likely to spend over $150 on Valentine’s Day versus couples who met in "real life."

Valentine's Day is a surprisingly costly holiday in the US. Consumers spend an average $137 on the occasion, or $18.2 billion total. An increasing number of couples celebrating Valentine's Day met online.

Tiller Money wanted to know if those couples spent money on Valentine's Day differently than couples who met "in the real world."

The results were clear: couples who met online will spend more on Valentine's Day than those who met in the real world, regardless of age or gender:

  • The majority of people who met offline will spend $25 or less on Valentine's Day.
  • The majority of people who met online will spend between $50 and $75.
  • Couples who met offline are almost twice as likely to spend nothing at all on the holiday.

The survey also found that people who met their partner in real life were more likely to skip Valentine’s Day:

  • 20% of people who met their partner "in real life" will skip Valentine's Day this year.
  • But just 13% of people who met their partner online will skip Valentine's Day.

Gender Differences in Valentine's Day Spending: Online vs Offline

Regardless if they met their partner online or offline, men expect to spend more than women on Valentine's Day:

  • 58% of men who met their partner online said they would spend more on their partner than vice versa. 
  • 53% of men who met their partner in the real world said they would spend more than their partner.

Women agree, saying they expect their partner to spend more them:

  • 71% of women who met their partners online say their partner will spend more for Valentine's Day.
  • 69% of women who met their partners in the real world say their partners will spend more on Valentine's Day.

Compared to men who met their romantic partner in real life, men who met their partner online are:

  • Slightly more likely to celebrate Valentine's Day.   
  • Much more likely to spend a higher amount on Valentine's Day.

Compared to women who met their romantic partner in real life, women who met their partner online are:

  • About 10% less likely to celebrate Valentine's Day
  • Slightly more likely to spend more on Valentines ‘Day in general.

Why Do Couples Who Met Online Spend More?

We hypothesize two reasons couples who met online spend more on Valentine's Day. 

AGE

In our survey, younger people were far more likely to say they met their current partner online:

  • 27% of respondents aged 25 - 34 met their current romantic partner through online dating or an app.
  • 8% of people aged 44 and up met their current romantic partner through online dating or an app.

Younger people spend more on Valentine's Day regardless of where they met their partner. A survey from AYTM found:

When looking at different behaviors in our data, we found that age matters. Millennials are more likely to go out (50%) than baby boomers (38%). While 42% of baby boomers will stay in compared to millennials (32%).

SUNK COSTS

Online dating is expensive. People spend more on dating now than any other time in American history. Online dating and dating apps are a $1.6 billion industry. Perhaps people who met online are conditioned to spend a little more on romantic gestures. 

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About the Survey

This data comes from a survey of 400 Americans aged 18 - 65+ written by Tiller Money and conducted using AYTM in January 2018. We ran the survey as part of our "Exploring