• Younger European consumers lead the way in sustainable gifting this Valentine’s Day, with 49 percent preferring to receive a one-of-a-kind pre-loved gift rather than a new, mass-produced item. 
  • But last minute panic buying of traditional Valentine’s merchandise means unwanted gifts are being thrown away or resold online.

Younger generations across Europe are leading in the race for romance this Valentine’s Day, with 43 percent of Gen Z saying they plan to buy gifts for family, friends and loved ones, compared to 36 percent of Gen X and just 25 percent of Baby Boomers.

That’s according to a new survey of 5,000 European consumers from Adevinta, a online classifieds group, which counts leboncoin (FR), Kleinanzeigen (DE), Marktplaats (NL), Milanuncios (ES), Subito (IT) and 2dehands/2ememain (BE) amongst its European re-commerce marketplaces.

The findings reveal that Gen Z make up the majority of first-time gifters; more than 1 in 4 (26 percent) plan to give a gift this year having never done so before, compared to 13 percent of all respondents. And this generation of ‘new romantics’ is moving away from stereotypical Valentine’s gifts, and are more likely to want to give or receive one-of-a-kind, second-hand presents this year.

Half of Gen Z respondents (50 percent) believe that Valentine’s Day is too focused on consumerism, with 49 percent preferring to receive a truly unique, pre-loved gift rather than a new, mass produced item.

Paul Heimann, Head of Re-Commerce for Adevinta, and CEO of Kleinanzeigen, commented: “It’s heartening to see an emerging generation of consumers opting for more meaningful and sustainable gifting choices this Valentine’s Day. By starting to shift mindsets around major retail moments in the year, we can move away from mass production towards more conscious consumption.

We are playing an important role in this re-commerce revolution by offering consumers access to a vast selection of unique, used or refurbished items – powering commerce that’s good for people’s pockets, as well as the planet.”

Tainted love: Unwanted gifts from ‘last minute lovers’ going to waste 

In spite of best intentions, last minute buying amongst half of Gen Z respondents means many are still resorting to traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise. 42 percent confess to buying a Valentine’s gift they know is unoriginal or cliché, despite 50 percent wishing they could have given a more special and unique gift.

As a result, many gifts are getting the thumbs down from unimpressed recipients. More than one in three (36 percent) Gen Z respondents have received a gift they have no use for, almost one in four (23 percent) have thrown a Valentine’s gift away, and nearly one in five (18 percent) have later sold an unwanted Valentine’s gift online.

From unloved to pre-loved: the second-hand shopping opportunity  

Encouragingly, the survey findings reveal that second-hand marketplaces have become a destination of choice for discerning consumers looking for a special something for their special someone this Valentine’s Day. 44 percent of Gen Z consumers believe second-hand online marketplaces offer more choice for meaningful or unique gifts than brick and mortar shops. And 39 percent say Valentine’s gifts from major online retailers are impersonal, compared to 33 percent of Gen X and 28 percent of Baby Boomers.

The cost and climate benefits of second-hand shopping are also on the minds of this new generation of conscious consumers. 57 percent of Gen Z recognise it is more affordable than buying brand-new, compared to 50 percent of Gen X and 52 percent of Baby Boomers. And 56 percent believe that buying pre-loved, vintage, or second-hand Valentine’s Day gifts is better for the environment.

Paul Heimann, Head of Re-Commerce for Adevinta, and CEO of Kleinanzeigen, added:

“Every year in the run up to Valentine’s Day, consumers are faced with the same selection of mass produced items that are as likely to disappoint as they are to delight. This leads to huge amounts of unnecessary waste as people throw away unwanted presents.

Thankfully, second-hand marketplaces give thoughtful romantics the chance to find that one-of-a kind gift that will be looked after and loved. As well as protecting the planet by giving second-hand items a second chance, re-commerce allows people to make their hard earned money go further. And for those who have received unwanted gifts, there is the opportunity to generate some cash by reselling them, rather than letting them go to waste.”

Image courtesy of Unsplash. Photo credit: Rinck Content Studio.

 

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