How much is Valentine’s Day worth to UK business?
by Melanie Cowie

Valentine’s Day spending is set to enjoy a comeback this year after a downswing during the pandemic, and a growing emphasis on romance among Brits has brands eager to reach both single and coupled consumers. Nearly two years of pandemic-induced isolation has made romance top of mind for many, who are set to spend more on Valentine’s Day this year. That would make 2022 the second-highest year on record,

The effect Valentine’s Day has on the UK economy

Interestingly, the earliest known surviving Valentine’s note dates back to 1415, in which a captured French Duke refers to his wife as ‘my very sweet Valentine’.

Fast-forward to today, and Valentine’s Day is celebrated by the masses across the UK with just over three-quarters of the nation taking part in 2021 and the average spend per person being £23, totalling £926m. When you take this into account, it is clear to see why it has such a large impact on businesses in all sectors, from retail to hospitality and even travel and tourism.

Average Valentine’s Day spend by gender

Of those who celebrated Valentine’s Day in 2021, men were the bigger spenders. 55% of men who celebrated Valentine’s Day last year also planned to spend money, with the majority opting to spend between £1 and £40. In comparison, only 45% of women participating in Valentine’s Day celebrations planned to spend money, with most planning to spend £10 or below. 2020 saw 9% of men planning to spend more than £100, but this percentage dropped to just 2% last year. The biggest difference can be seen in women. 1% were willing to spend more than £100 on their partner this year, while 2020 saw that number sitting at 4%. A large portion of men and women did not spend money last year. 28% of women kept their pockets shut in February, and 24% of men did the same.

Average Valentine’s Day spending by age group

Generation Z has overtaken millennials as the UK’s highest-spending age group on Valentine’s Day, forking out a whopping £41 on average for their loved ones. The next highest spenders were millennials (£32), followed by generation X (£19) and baby boomers (£11). The silent generation were the lowest spenders, averaging £10. They were also the least likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day of all the age groups (36%), but it should be noted that the silent generation were also the most likely to celebrate without spending any money (42%). They were followed by baby boomers (37%) and generation X (27%).

Will Brits be spending on themselves on Valentine’s Day?

According to research, 25% of Brits treat themselves on Valentine’s Day. With an average of £12.50 spent each, this could total £155 million across the UK. It also appears that those in a relationship, whether married or not, are most likely to treat themselves on Valentine’s Day. Unmarried people in a relationship are the most likely to spend on themselves, with 33% saying they did so last year. Married couples were the next most likely, with 25% intending to look after number 1. Singletons (20%) were the least likely to give something to themselves on Valentine’s day.

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