Gone are the days when surprising your Valentine with a used gift would result in a one-way ticket to singledom.

Today’s young hearts, by contrast, adore a one-of-a-kind secondhand gift, according to Valentine’s Day research released by Adevinta ahead of the annual celebration of love.

“Half of Gen Z respondents (50%) believe that Valentine’s Day is too focused on consumerism,” reported the Oslo-based marketplace operator, with 49% more likely to be wooed by a unique, secondhand gift than a new, mass-produced item.

Gen Z love to love secondhand

Some 44% of Gen Z consumers agreed that secondhand online marketplaces offered greater potential for meaningful or unique gifts than brick-and-mortar stores, with 39% finding Valentine’s gifts from major online retailers impersonal, versus 33% of Gen X and 28% of Baby Boomers — pointing to greater love of shopping secondhand among younger demographics.

“It’s heartening to see an emerging generation of consumers opting for more meaningful and sustainable gifting choices this Valentine’s Day,” said Paul Heimann, head of re-commerce for Adevinta and CEO of Germany-based marketplace Kleinanzeigen.

“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.”

Don’t throw your love away…

Environmentally conscious lovers should make sure they are well prepared with their tokens of love, as “last minute panic buying of traditional Valentine’s merchandise means unwanted gifts are being thrown away or resold online,” cautioned the marketplace operator.

With 42% of the survey’s Gen Z respondents confessing to having bought a Valentine’s gift they knew to be unoriginal or cliché, more than one in three (36%) said they’d received a gift they had no use for. To the possible heartbreak of their suitors, almost one in four (23%) told researchers they had thrown a Valentine’s gift away, and nearly one in five (18%) said they had later sold an unwanted Valentine’s present online.

Money can’t buy me love

Thrift and environmentalism are the main drivers of resale among young adults. Some 57% of the Gen Z respondents cited affordability as a factor, versus 50% of Gen X and 52% of Baby Boomers, while 56% said buying vintage or secondhand Valentine’s Day gifts is better for the environment.

“Thankfully, secondhand marketplaces give thoughtful romantics the chance to find that one-of-a kind gift that will be looked after and loved,” added Heimann.

“As well as protecting the planet by giving secondhand 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.”

Aurelia Bidco comes courting Adevinta

The Valentine’s Day research — which surveyed 5,000 European consumers — comes as Adevinta finds itself about to embark on a new relationship, with its sale finally approved by shareholders on Feb. 8.

Aurelia Bidco Norway AS has announced that its takeover bid has been accepted by approximately 95.0% of the total issued and outstanding share capital and voting rights in the Oslo-based marketplace operator. 

Aurelia Bidco is an investment vehicle formed by a consortium led by investment companies Blackstone and Permira. 

Spun off from Norway-based Schibsted in 2019, Adevinta owns and operates marketplaces, primarily across its six core Western European markets — Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. It also has joint ventures in a number of other countries, including Ireland (DistilledSCH) and Brazil (OLX-Brazil).

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