How Americans plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day during COVID-19

Jamie BallardData Journalist
February 11, 2021, 2:00 PM UTC

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many couples still intend to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but those celebrations may look slightly different this year.  

New data from YouGov finds that among Americans who are in a relationship, at least half typically celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special dinner (68%), gifting flowers and/or chocolates (53%), exchanging Valentine’s Day cards (53%), or giving other kinds of presents. Slightly fewer (42%) usually ring in the day with other nice gestures (like breakfast in bed) and 39% usually bring the Valentine’s Day celebration to the bedroom for “increased or special sexual activity.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic may have an impact on how people plan to spend the romantic holiday this year. The percentage of coupled Americans who are certain at this point that they will celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special dinner has fallen 12 points, to 56%. Similarly, the percentage of people who decisively plan to give their sweetheart a present (aside from flowers and chocolates) this year has fallen 13 points to 37%.  

One measure that seems to have remained fairly consistent in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is the percentage of couples who plan to celebrate the holiday by having sex. In a normal year, 39% say they typically celebrate this way; this year, a similar percentage (36%) say they plan to do this.  

Additional YouGov research from early February suggests that many people may be doing something for Valentine’s Day because they feel pressured to. Over half (57%) of US adults say they think Valentine’s Day is celebrated more because of pressure from commercial entities, while just 28% think it’s celebrated more because it’s a “real” special occasion.  

See full results here

Related: Half of women say they have been disappointed by a partner on Valentine's Day 

Methodology: Total sample size was 1,190 US adults, including 714 who have a romantic partner. Fieldwork was undertaken between February 8 – 9, 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).